I arrived late for the lecture today after handing back my kit for my fundraising job. As much as I genuinely love the work – and will hopefully do some of it again in the future – having three jobs and university lectures was taking it’s tole. And studies come first: they are priority. A recent assignment was a wake-up call. I did ‘achieve’ a very low grade recently and it’s tempting to think negatively, but well that’s never wise. I remember receiving the picture book contract at a confusing time, so I always remember hope is close. It’s indeed possible to improve my grades – somehow, there is a way. And thankfully, the content of today’s university ‘lesson’ reminded me of that.
There was discussion about reading/writing as essential tools for moving forward. Creating stories as humans has always been our way of expressing ourselves, finding meaning. (University of Nottingham, no date). Writing requires time and we all seem to run out of that. But, it also needs you to be on your own – and just think. J.K. Rowling says: “Develop a fondness for solitude if you can, because writing is one of the loneliest professions in the world.” I never aspire to be J.K. Rowling as money means little on your last day on Earth, but her way of working resonates very closely with me. Being alone and in a coffee shop is the most peaceful place on Earth – or a forest.
Back to the lecture, we were talking about how experience and choosing different paths leads you to various destinations. I think it’s very true that we are in control of our outcome. I remember being in S6 and studying at home was not the best place: I decided to head to coffee shops after my work shift before admiring the nature when walking home. After walking two hours each way, I thought: How can I make this trudge a positive? Let’s take up running and try a marathon (I had done a 5k before). Super, was it because I developed a love for the simple things. Oh and the best part was admiring the stars when it was dark … and my phone ran out of charge! Silly Claire! After a run here and there, I decided to try the Army and then well, the mouse character who learns from a tiger came along. Everything linked together in some way.
But most importantly, others helped me along the way… just as J.K. Rowling’s quote encourages me that solitude and coffee is indeed normal! People always teach you something, in some sort of way. I am philosophical – as you probably gather – and like to link one thing with another. People’s actions help you in discrete ways. For instance, it was my boss at my first ever workplace who ran marathons and inspired me (alongside my old P.E. teacher). Another important person is my Great Uncle. In our last conversation, he told me: “Join the Army, smile in the cold and travel to Antarctica.” I’ve done two… perhaps the third will find its way one day. He turned into the mouse creature that is in my picture book and is still alive in my mind. As Mary Poppins goes: “Nothing is gone forever, only out of place.” For three years, I missed him greatly: but my uncle is back in place. Alive again – and for good.
I can’t say too much about the picture book story but it relates to all my experiences. The mouse falls in love with the stars and discovers that no matter where you are, there is always light. During my fundraising shifts, the yellow glow of the streetlamps would guide me through the cold! The lecture today on reading reminded me to keep reading and keep writing. It was thanks to my AoS that I began to really love writing (blogs are ace). So, it is thanks to this lecture that I could leave the lovely people at sales and focus on these assignments properly. I worry about grades, but that’s not the purpose of education: intelligence is intelligence. It’s about trying out best. I may have the first D of my life but I have a choice, as Kluger and DeNisi’s (1996) research points out:
I can …. alter my behaviour, alter my goal, quit my dream or disregard feedback.
The easiest option would be to say that I will never improve, but everything is possible – somehow. And, so today it was time to take on the feedback and think positively. I did not officially fail (yay, I passed) and there is always a way up. Birds show you that.
You see, running taught me that you just need to keep moving forward. It is all to easy to blame others for failure, but the responsibility is on me. I didn’t achieve the F in my first third-year assignment so I ought to be happy. I know that I am not the quickest learner – from other activities – but persistence does pay off. Without the hours training to run, I woudn’t have developed a desire to submit my story and accept many rejections. My students need to learn that there is an answer if you keep believing. But, how does that translate into the classroom?
I believe that the most important aspect of teaching is to lead by example and show your students that the way you treat others is more important than intelligence. If you are kind, then someone may just be hopeful. And after all, it is hope that leads to studying and better grades. We cannot change our IQ, but we can alter our perspective. Pay is important, but sometimes the richest people are the rudest. I spent one night at someone’s door who had just come back from a funeral. The person wasn’t the wealthiest (and told us that) but made my night for smiling and not shutting our discussion down. It’s silly but I want to show kids that if you treat others right, nothing else matters. We have to power ourselves through life – independence is key – but humans ultimately rely on each other. If you keep positive, others will too. Isn’t that the most important aspect of teaching? Hope. Hope for not money – but a kinder world. And hope to be the best you as a person.
Back again to the lecture… if you want a story of your life, it’s about how you treat others. Possessions matter to a certain degree, but I desire for my students to be grateful with what you have. Let’ s move forward with a smile – and read, write with positivity. I have hope to improve my grade because the lecture was inspiring. It reminded me to write down ‘I can do it’ when I’m unsure about my essay. There is nothing worse than giving up believing, because after all, positivity is all we have in the world – and the stars of course.
Kluger, A.N. and DeNisi, A.S. (1996) ‘The Effects of Feedback Interventions on Performance: A Historical Review, a Meta-Analysis, and a Preliminary Feedback Intervention Theory’, Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), pp. 254-284. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.119.2.254
University of Nottingham (no date) Studying Effectively: Why do we write? Available at: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studyingeffectively/studying/writer/whywrite/index.aspx (Accessed: 14 November 2019)