My Why:How Defeating The Pygmalion Effect Led To A Champion
Updated: Nov 17, 2019
In starting this blog, I'm not sure what I want the end result to be.
Part of starting a blog is so my friends and family keep liking me. Because the truth is, I can talk about education all day. And I do.
I spent much of my life as a reluctant learner. Neither of my parents went to college. In my early years my family was in survival mode, so my school work was on the back burner. I don't have a knack for executive functioning. And, honestly, my elementary teachers spent a great deal of time frustrated with me and my lack of ability to get to school on time, turn in homework, listen, etc. I'd love to say that there was that one teacher who saw my struggles, and empathetically helped me become the person I am today, but that didn't happen.
School was just something I did. I'm not an auditory processor, and back when I went to school, it was sit and get, so I was disengaged most of the time. Rather than utilize my energy to engage, I used it to make people laugh. Because what I lacked in auditory processing, I made up for in unnecessary commentary. We're all always searching for the gift within us, and mine was humor - Which is really great, just not when people are expecting you to be quiet and learn.
Middle school is probably not something I should write about, because I don't want to relive it, and most certainly my parents and principals don't want to relive it, either. So, let's just fast forward.
High School. It started off much the same as elementary. I was funny and people liked me because I was kind, but I was not the student every teacher dreamed of having. My psychology teacher was INCREDIBLY surprised when I aced his test. See, when he met me, he told me I should plan on marrying rich. It never occurred to him that I may just have a brain in my head. And, truth be told, you didn't need one to do well on his test. But, because of him, I couldn't identify as smart. That's when I started thinking I needed to be a teacher. Because I wanted kids like me to have someone, ANYONE, that didn't judge them by what they looked like or who their parents were.
In college, my professors told me I wasn't teacher material because my idea of education didn't fit in their pretty little box. They tried to get me to think of other professions. But, the good news about who I am as a person is that the more people tell me no, the more I work to to prove them wrong. If you're reading this, you likely already know that about me.
And, so, I did it. I became a teacher. And I promised that if this profession ever became a job, I would quit.
That I wouldn't be the teacher who got frustrated at a lack of executive functioning or told girls they should marry rich. I would be the person who taught executive functioning to those without a natural ability. And I would help girls realize that THEY could be rich. Independently. Without a man.
As a teacher, it is constantly asked of me which one of my teachers made me want to become a teacher. And, sadly, I don't have a name. Therefore my answer is about a lack of teachers who truly understood that their outer voice so easily becomes the inner voice of the student. I defied a self-fulfilling prophecy that told me I should fail because the trajectory of my future was developed by people that didn't understand that the non-traditional learner also deserves to achieve at high-levels.
So, here I am. A National Board Certified Teacher working as an Instructional Coordinator in an amazing district that is desired by so many. I defied the Pygmalion Effect. While those around me held certain beliefs about the outcome of my life and acted in ways that should have led me to failure, I became my own champion.
Some might say those who can, do, and those who can't, teach. But I like to think those who can't sometimes become the champion that helps all students realize they can and they will do.