Thursday, December 11, 2014

What is the size of the problem?

This time of year can bring people a lot of stress, especially me!  There always seems to be too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.  Between trying to buy the perfect present for everyone and making time to see all my family and friends, it can get overwhelming.  However, this all got put into perspective the other day as I was working with a student.  This particular student has a difficult time reacting in an appropriate way to different size problems.  I find myself asking him “What is the size of this problem?”  We discussed that we have small problems, medium problems, and large problems and that our reaction should match the size of our problem.  We spent some time defining different size problems and some he came up with are:

Small problem= not sure how to do a problem in math
Medium problem= being late for school
Large problem= Fire alarm goes off

When we were able to look at his problems, he realized that something he thought was a big problem was really a small or medium sized one and the reaction he had did not match the size of the problem. 

I may think that I have to drive from store to store looking for the perfect gift and that it is a large problem if I don’t find it, but is it really?  When I apply what I am teaching to my students I realize that I need to follow my own advice, slow down and realize that everything is going to be okay (even if I don’t find that perfect present!)

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