I Can Do It!

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Our “no fretting shields 2.0” have arrived! Or to be more precise, have been made.

I decided to be more intentional with the folders this year. I bought folders that would only be used as no fretting shields — nothing else. I decorated them, and then considered what words I might add to them.

I wanted the words to be an affirmation, encouragement, or a reminder to breathe. And, I wanted it to be something all my girls could read. I finally decided on “I can do it!” It seemed perfect because it was something they would say about and to themselves — I can do it — not something someone else said about them — You can do it.

I got to see the shields in action today.

There are tons of assessments to be done in the beginning of the year — they help me learn a bit about my students, and be a better teacher. As I started to work with one of my girls, she noticed the folders sitting on a chair next to me.  She asked what they were, and then asked if she could try one while we worked together.

Of course!!!

I asked her if she knew what it said. She did. She read it, and we got to work.

At one point she expressed a lack of confidence in herself. I chuckled, and asked her what she had just read on the no fretting screen. She repeated it, smiled, and tried again. (YAY!)

Then, in a bit, as I watched her struggle to write one of the numerals, I almost said. “Can I show you how to make it?”

Oh my GOSH!

Thank goodness I had the awareness, and self control to keep that thought to myself, and allow her to continue to struggle and try. She was unfazed by the struggle. It was me who was uncomfortable with her need for hard work, risk, and possible failure.

There will come a time when I will step in and help her perfect her work. This was not that time.

If I had allowed those words to pass my lips. I would have negated the affirmation of the no fretting screen. My apparent kindness — trying to help — would have only proven that I can do it, not that she could. I would have unintentionally said I didn’t believe in the value of hard work, hard thought, and struggle. I would have suggested she couldn’t do it without my help. Ugh.

As I looked at the folder I realized that as she spoke the words “I can do it!” to herself, she also spoke them to me.

“I can do it, Miss James! Trust me. Trust the process. Trust our relationship. It’s all good.”

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