When I was in grade eight at St. Kevin’s junior high, (2009-2010) located in St. John’s, I had a math teacher who really helped me gain confidence as a young teenager. In order to protect his identity, I will be changing his real name to “Mr. Jenkins”. As of right now, he lives close to me and I often see him out around. With that in mind, Mr. Jenkins taught me a valuable lesson about having confidence in myself. In high school, there were often times when students would take turns solving problems in front of class during math period. Grade eight was no different, and during the winter of 2010 it was my turn to step forward and solve an equation in front of the class while everyone else watched and solved the equation together at their desks.
I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at math, and I like to joke that’s why I have an English degree instead. Mr. Jenkins had this game, in which students would take turns solving equations and he would specifically ask the students who lacked confidence, “do you bet two chocolate milks that you’re right?” The purpose of this exercise was for students to trust themselves and believe in themselves, and he would actually go out of his way to go downstairs to the cafeteria and buy the chocolate milk he promised. When it was my turn and he asked me, “Do you think you’re right?” I looked at him and said, “No”. In response, he asked, “Are you sure?” so I said, “Yes.” Following this exchange he looked at me for a moment and said, “I’m sorry, but you just lost two chocolate milks!” and smirked, then proceeded to call the next person up to solve an equation.
Considering at the time I was thirteen years old, I was quite upset. From my perspective, I felt like I was “done wrong” and “cheated”. However, I am now twenty-four and I appreciate the valuable lesson Mr. Jenkins taught me that day. I am currently studying to be a teacher myself, (English, not math) and the lesson Mr. Jenkins taught me ten years ago has stuck in my mind. Whether I was actually right or wrong with solving the equation, I have no idea. However, the moral aspect of the lesson was something else entirely. It wasn’t that I was bad at math, and just a lot better at English; I lacked confidence.
With that being said, something to keep in mind is that believing in yourself will always be more important than what everyone else thinks. We are here to live the best life possible, and we deserve it! Although gaining the necessary confidence didn’t happen overnight, this moment in 2010 helped me along the way. It was just a small act of kindness and humility, but it gave me a reason to believe in myself. For that, I will always be grateful. Education is one of the most important parts of life, and I appreciate everything I have learned whether from my parents or during my years in school. There are moments in life when obstacles appear to be insurmountable, but we should never try and find a reason to give up. Success does not come without failure or missed opportunities, and we reserve our right to keep pushing forward because we know we can.
(c) The Modernist Son