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Driven By Perfection

One of the tasks that I’m doing this year is asssting other classroom teachers in their workday, when I’m not engaged in teaching Spanish. One of the trends that I’ve noticed among my primary and middle-schoolers is an excessive need to be absolutely perfect in appearance on paper ┬áin doing classwork.

When providing individual guidance, I’ve noticed that there’s so much emphasis on “geting it right,” in appearance on the paper, and not owning the knowledge for themselves. For instance, when writing a sentence, I had a 3rd grader erase over and over just two words, because he said they weren’t “all the same size,” or uniformly even in his eyes.He spent more time focusing on what it looked like, instead of following the assigned task of correcting the misspelled word.

I asked him why, and he said without blinking an eye, “It has to look perfect, or I won’t be learning.”.

Already he has lost the joy of learning, and replaced it with drudgery.