Hey folks! It’s been an interesting week at school/work.
So the main thing I do when I tutor is test the students on their reading ability. Every day.We read passages sixty seconds at a time and I record their errors and their Words Per Minute (WPM) right in front of them! Yay. Cynicism aside, I’m really growing attached to my students regardless of what I do, just because of how lovely they are.
I have this student that on our first day read 7 WPM. Seven! She’s in the second grade! I came to find out that her parents don’t read with her, she’s never owned a book, etc. Three days after our first initial read, she started off by reading 20 WPM. It almost tripled in just three days. The only thing I remember telling her on her first day was, “come on, you’re smarter than you think. Stop worrying about being perfect and just try.” Right after I said that she improved. And she has just continued to improve. She got a book from the library the other day and ran to me yesterday when she saw me just to show me her new book. It probably has 25 words in it, but she will read it. And she will get better. And it makes me so damn proud to be her tutor.
The night after I first read with this young lady, I went to my third shift at Family Restaurant. I was less nervous than the previous shift but was still trying very hard not to suck. At the end of my shift, the girl who was closing with me came up to me and said (something akin to), “calm down and stop trying so hard to be perfect. Don’t focus on not making mistakes and just focus on doing the best you can. You’re better at this than you think.”
It clicked. Sometimes you have to be given the same advice you just gave in order for it to actually take effect. I realized that I was actually not doing badly. I hadn’t even really “messed up” since my first night.
Tomorrow night is my 8th shift. I feel much more comfortable with what I do and all I get a little stressed about is my timing, which should come naturally after a few more weeks. I don’t stress when I go into work anymore. I love, love, LOVE the people I work with and really enjoy the environment. Having encouraging and kind people around me makes me want to get better. And I love that feeling.
So basically, whenever you think you’re bad at something just give yourself time. You wouldn’t expect anyone else to learn a new skill in one night, so why are you expecting yourself to do so? Everyone needs to take a breath and realize we’re human, we make mistakes, and we are most definitely our worst critics.
You, all of you, are smarter than you think you are.