Slice of Life: “You is not dumb”

I’m not sure if it’s the stress or anxiety or overwhelm of these incredibly slow days at work (which can sometimes leak into other areas of life), but sometimes it seems like it is never enough. No matter how many hours spent prepping – does it matter? Was it worth it? Am I truly an effective teacher? I’ve been thinking about how often we quickly criticize ourselves over insignificant situations. Even just mumbles whispered under our breath. 

When I was in college, I applied to work at an elementary school as part of a program working with targeted, low-performing students via pull-out small groups. As you can imagine, I was also used in other areas of need on campus, like lunch duty or manning the receptionist desk.

A particularly adorable second grader, who everyone on campus was familiar with, would often roam the hallways, snatch admin walkie-talkies, or meander in and out of other classrooms. 

On one of the days I was manning the front desk, we all suddenly heard T on the walkie-talkie ask the head custodian, “… what’s your location? Ma’am, what’s your location?” While I thought it was hysterical, a frantic search began; soon, T was waiting to meet with the principal on a bench near me.

I was working on the computer and hastily exclaimed, “Oh, dang it! I’m so dumb!” T stood up from the bench, walked over to me, looked me straight in the eyes with the most serious expression, and said, “Princess, you is NOT dumb. Maybe you do dumb things, but Princess, you. is. not. dumb.

Left speechless (and wanting to laugh), T dragged himself back to his spot on the bench looking more wise and more stoic than most. 

As you carry on this week and catch yourself spewing negativity toward yourself in a careless moment, think of T. Maybe you do dumb or stupid things, but you are not dumb or stupid. Little ears are listening.

What’s something funny and/or shocking a student has said to you?!

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I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life weekly challenge.

20 thoughts on “Slice of Life: “You is not dumb”

  1. Ana Cruz says:

    The wonderful thing about little ones is that they tend to remind us to take a step back and simplify those things that we try to complicate so much as adults. Lovely post and great reminder that we are not dumb. Hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. britt says:

      LOL, “great reminder that we are not dumb.” We definitely have a way of over complicating. It’s fascinating how they can simplify something, yet it ends up being incredibly profound. Thanks for reading! 🙂


  2. theapplesinmyorchard says:

    Such a wonderful post! The best student thing said to me was, “Mrs. L. you can save the world” said as L. pressed a penny into my hand. It was the last day of my garden club group. L. was a third-grade student who had belonged to the club for two years. Truth be told, he often irritated me during our lessons. But, this? His words are forever burned in my memory. I never talked about saving the world, but he got what I was saying and passed it back to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. britt says:

      Yes! Now that I’m a classroom teacher (instead of a temporary presence/college student), I can definitely see why this made everyone crazy. And how it does to me now, too! Ha. Thanks for reading 🙂


  3. Lainie Levin says:

    I love this slice of life story. What I love most about it is that you found yourself open to the wisdom of a kid – something we could ALL use more of.

    I’m trying to think of something shocking one of my kiddos has said to me, and I’m not sure I can remember! I’m sure something will come to me around 3 am. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jonathan Rivera says:

    What a great post. Reading your intro, I thought, “wait, am I reading a post about myself?” Sadly I have wrestled with many of these feelings. I once got very sage advice from a professor. I don’t remember her exact words, but your post reminded me of them: “When we look towards ourselves all the time, we will always find things to critique we can always spot our failures and shortcomings. Look to the students. Focus on the students, and everything else falls in place.” Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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