Thursday, May 1, 2008

Condesending? Once

I have a big fear of being thought of as condescending. I think someone told me once that I was, and though I don't remember who it was, or when or what it was regarding, it is something that has been bothering me for quite sometime. Its something that I have been trying to consciously change, and there are times when I feel that I have been condescending that I just feel awful about. One of the ways this appears in my daily life, especially at school, is regarding knowledge. I really get excited about things I know and I want to share that knowledge with other people. I'm sure thats why I am going to be a teacher, and probably (hopefully) will make me be a good one. Here's the scenario that I really struggle with. In classes a professor will be lecturing and will either pause, waiting for someone to finish the sentence with information we're supposed to know, or asks a direct question. Sometimes the information is right there in my head and I want to fill in the blank or answer the question right away. And sometimes I do. After this happens several times in a class, I realize, guiltily that I have been answering most of the questions. So I have to make a conscious effort NOT to answer, even if I know it, and even if no one else is saying anything for a minute or so. This is a big effort for me. I know that other people in my class know the answer and its not fair for me to just jump in all the time. Wait time, its called. Its a skill that teachers have to practice when questioning students, so maybe its good that I'm having to practice it now. Other times, I want to offer constructive criticism, like on the structure of powerpoints presentations, my pet peeve thanks to a great professor at SUNY Geneseo. Today told one of the girls in my class that her power point was excellent, and had a lot of great information, but that many of the pages had too much text and it was a little overwhelming to a viewer. I worry now that I hurt her feelings, when I just meant to help. Also, I want to add my 2 cents to topics that I know about, because I want other people to know the cool things I've found out. Today, a professor was giving a presentation on something that I had just done extensive research on for a paper. I had to practically bite my lips in order not to add something. I wasn't always this way actually. I remember teachers in late middle school and early high school telling me that I couldn't get an A unless I raised my hand more in class. I had to make a big effort to do that then. I remember keeping a tally of how many times I raised my hand in French class to make sure I was participating enough. Then, I think, as I became more confident with myself, I was able to raise my hand more. Its funny now that the same thing is having the opposite effect on how I feel about myself. I guess I'll just keep trying though.
So I left school feeling pretty rotten, with all the stuff mentioned above, as well as the stress of the end of the semester work load and exhaustion from a long day. I turned on NPR as I pulled out of the parking lot, as usual. Fresh Air, which is a arts show was on. They were talking about an indie film called "Once" that had won some Grammies, but that I had never heard of. But when they played a song from the movie in the introduction, called "Falling Slowly", my attention was immediately caught! I had heard this song before, as well as several others they played later in the show. It turns out that film is directed by a former member of the Irish band, The Frames, and the main male character is a singer for the band as well. This is a band that I was introduced to during my time in Ireland, and who I really enjoy, but don't hear about much here at home. I'm really excited now about seeing this movie, and watching the clips from the movie make me want to watch it more. That picked my spirits up a bit, and I will listen to The Frames for the rest of the night whilst I try to wade my way through the last remaining projects of the semester.

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