Practice Makes Perfect

Monday, April 17, 2017

JESSICA LAHEY, Educator and Writer (Review 2016)

When my students take tests or quizzes, I like to walk around the room to check on their progress, ensure they understand my questions, and whisper encouragement where it’s needed. I read their body language and watch them respond to the challenge of particularly difficult sections. In these unguarded moments, I see their mindsets laid bare: some attack the assessment with bravado and glee, eager for the challenge. Others come to the page with hesitation and concern, in doubt of their abilities or second-guessing their preparation.

One such day a few years ago, I was making my rounds and noticed an eighth-grade boy (I will call him Adam) hunched over his Latin test with the unmistakable rigidity and posture of fear. His hand hovered over the blank white space under question two, shaking in midair. I placed my hand gently on his shoulder, leaned down, and whispered,
“Adam, just move on to the next question; you can always
come back to it later on.”
He looked up at me, his face tense with anxiety, and said,
“I can’t.”
This was not hyperbole; Adam was frozen, absolutely unable to move on to question three while question two remained less than perfect, let alone blank. View Full Article

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE 2016 EDITION OF THE REVIEW
© 2017 PARENTS LEAGUE OF NEW YORK