Is Frustration Productive?

No. It’s frustrating.

I am extremely frustrated with trying to figure out setting up this blog, all by myself. I have the bare bones, but am trying to figure out many of the details. My frustration level is so high I want to quit. I feel stupid. This is taking up too much of my time. I read how-to tutorials, which are only partially helpful because I keep coming across blog language or technology language that I don’t quite understand, or examples that don’t match what I am trying to do, or they don’t address the questions I have. Completely by accident, I found a place to list categories, but can’t find it again. I want to find it again because I want to edit it, and I want to know how to link a post to a category. I know it’s not called a link, but dammit, I don’t know what it is called. If this is all supposed to be intuitive, and instead I am confused, that only makes me feel antiquated, stupid, and excluded. I just keep guessing, hoping I get it right. On top of all that, I am really scared that once I do set everything up and sufficiently understand the ins and outs of my blog and blogging, I will discover that my writing stinks.

I have walked away from my frustrations several times to calm down– seriously, there has been quite a bit of swearing going on. On my last time-out, I started thinking about what it is I need to get past my frustration and move forward.

I need someone to sit next to me, a patient, non-judgemental, knowledgeable someone. (Maybe physical proximity is not as critical as availability?)  I need my expert to help me articulate what it is I’m trying to do and understand, to determine what it is I already know and don’t know, so that they know exactly how best support me. I need specialty terms explained in ways that makes sense to me. I need to do the work myself, so I also need them to use my mistakes to understand and guide my learning. I need to be able to ask questions, lots and lots of questions, even stupid ones.  While it is soooo tempting to just ask for a how-to step-by-step list, I know in the long run I also need to make sense of actions and related tasks in order for me to retain and successfully transfer my understanding of “how” to new situations and to not end up guessing again. I will need to know enough “why” to move ahead on my own with some confidence. I want to get to the point of feeling competent enough so that I can concentrate on what matters most.

Sound familiar? We all know that there are many students of math who feel like they are inferior people destined to excluded from the elite circle of The Smart Ones. These kids have needs similar to mine, every day, and it is NOT FUN feeling so frustrated and overwhelmed. What pedagogical choices do we make in our classrooms that either address and alleviate, or create and even intensify these needs in our learners?  This is just one of many areas I intend to ponder on this blog.

FYI, I know I do not reflect/write succinctly. So, if you are reading a post and find your mind wandering and losing interest, move on, you have far better things to do. It’s fine. If for some strange reason all the planets align and you remain interested enough to keep reading, please let me know so I can thank you shower you with gratitude. I appreciate and am grateful for any encouragement, kind guidance, or conversation you may have to offer as well.

PS. I know.  I totally missed the MTBoS deadline to match up experts with novices.  Bummer.

Update:  (5 minutes later). Hey!  I just found the categories thingie again!  Woo-hoo!

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4 thoughts on “Is Frustration Productive?

  1. Oh, Pat. My only suggestion is to not end every post by apologizing for yourself! I love the name, I love the photo of the mountain sunrise, and altogether I love what you have to say and how you say it.

    Maybe we can get together this summer and be blog buddies. I’m thinking of moving to WordPress because I hear good things about it…

    Oh, and that rambling thing? I don’t feel like you’re doing that–but it’s totally what I always think about my own writing too. We are not succinct people.

    Like

  2. Hi Pat,

    My two mentees are MIA, so if you want another mentor, I’m happy to volunteer. I’ve been reading through your blog though and it doesn’t look like you need any help here, unless you want to learn to add videos or some really specific technical skill.

    David

    Like

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