A couple of times each year I survey my students to find out what they liked and didn’t like about my classes. Every once in a while, I see something in their comments that makes me feel really good. This year, it was the following comment, in response to the question, “What advice would you give to future students who have Mr. Bigler?”:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! He won’t think you’re stupid. He’ll think you’re smart for asking, and he’ll make you call yourself smart. Pay attention and listen to him. He only wants you to succeed. Have fun.
For some context, here’s a quote from my Self Esteem post from October 2011:
When my students put themselves down in class (usually because they struggle with math), I work with them until they succeed in understanding whatever it is that they’re having trouble with at that moment, and then I tell them to say “I’m smarter than I give myself credit for.” In fact, I insist that they keep trying until they can look me in the eyes when they’re saying it, and say it in a way that sounds convincing. Some of them do take several tries before they’re able to say it convincingly, but all of them seem to appreciate my taking the time and effort to get them to say it, and several of them commented that they should really believe it more than they actually do.
I had sometimes wondered to what extent that message actually sticks. Clearly it did for this student, which really made my day!