teachin' school

teaching tip 49: don’t be stubborn

when i was a kid, i would always say “i can do it by myself”.  this obstinance resulted in lots of self-inflicted physical and emotional bruises.  my mama called me “a strong-willed child”.  but really, i was just stubborn as hell.  still am.

halloween 1993?
this is my favorite picture to illustrate my stubbornness. i refused to cover up my ballerina costume even though there was a whole bunch of snow outside. i’m pretty sure i ended up throwing a fit because of how cold i was a little later on.

as an adult, i continue to want to “do it by myself”.  sometimes it’s a good thing because i am fiercely independent.  but it’s been detrimental too.  because i am so independent, i think it can hurt my relationships in my personal life and at work.

it’s been a hard lesson to learn to not be stubborn.  (have i really learned it?  i’m not sure.)  this year, i’ve had many reminders of my stubbornness.  i’ve had to ask for help quite a few times, whether it’s for an unexpected absence or with a troubled student.  and just last week, i moved classrooms…for lots of reasons.  when i went to my assistant principal to talk to him about it, he asked me – “why do you have to be so stubborn all the time?  you should have told me about this two months ago!”  and i should have.  but i wanted to take care of it myself.  in the end, i did all i could to deal with it and it just didn’t work.

i look back on my first year of teaching and think – how did i get through it?  i wanted to do everything by myself, and really i did.  but it was so hard!  i should have asked for help more often.  i shouldn’t have waited for my breaking point to hit for me to take action.  i should have been more vulnerable.  and i should have accepted assistance when it was offered.

so here’s my advice… when someone wants to help you, let them.  when you require advice, ask for it.  and when you need something, accept the assistance no matter how much pride you have to swallow.

2 thoughts on “teaching tip 49: don’t be stubborn

  1. Love this!

    I definitely struggle with asking for help because of my control issues and the fear that I’ll look stupid or weak or whatever but I’m getting better about it. I just can’t do everything myself and I’ve found that people are willing to help without judgment if you just ask.

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