We’ve all heard: “But I don’t like doing math. Why do I have to learn this? When am I ever going to use this in real life?”
What do we say to this?
First reply with: “Tell me more about that.” Take time to hear them out. What is it that they don’t like? How do they feel about it?
Then say in a gentle, kind tone with a smile on your face. “I am not here to make you like math. And it’s OK to tell me that you don’t like it. I understand how you feel. What I am here to do is to help you to succeed at it, and to teach you how to do math with excellence – even if you don’t want to do it.”
“Are there other things in life that you need to do even if you don’t want to do it?” Have them share a few examples such as making their bed, cleaning up their toys, taking out the garbage, etc.
“There is a bigger life lesson here beyond math. That is learning to do all things with excellence – the very best you can do – even if you don’t like it. In the big picture of life, you may not choose a career that requires a lot of math, and that’s OK. But what matters most is that you learn to do all things with excellence. This math is just the testing grounds for you to learn this.”
We’ve used math here as our example, but you can use this script for anything they may say that they don’t like doing. Put away the forceful demands of “I don’t care if you don’t want to; you’ve got to do it now.” Approach things in a positive way. They get to learn to work with excellence. They will be chosen first in the work place because their work is thorough, detailed, accurate, and well-presented because they learned at a young age to work with excellence. Work will bring more joy and satisfaction when they approach it from an attitude of “How can I do my best in this?”
This change in thinking from “Why do I have to do this?” to “I get to do this” takes a purposeful mind shift. It will take patience and encouragement on your part as the teacher to continue to remind them of a new, better perspective. But your consistency will pay off. And what an incredible life perspective with which you are equipping them!
Now, I would love to hear from you.
How do you help your students work with excellence even if they don’t want to or if they find the subject hard?
Leave a comment below and let me know. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. So many amazing moms, dads, grandparents, and teachers come here for insight and motivation, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.
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With enormous love,