A teacher's comment

Mar 22, 2015 • Filipe Fernandes

I don’t remember feeling demotivated in college, not because there were no demotivating situations, but the situations were not serious enough for me to remember then today. However, I do remember one from high school.

Most of the time my performance in math exceeded that of my colleagues, until the day, during last high school year, that I got a job. Since then my grades starting dropping, including in beloved math. I was OK with that fact, I guess it was because it felt good to be working. I got demotivated when I got the result from the final math exam. The teacher said that, even tough I passed, my grades were like a “Curva do Preguiçoso” (translates to “lazy guy’s curve”). That implies I got good grades at first and, when I achieved a passing mark, I stopped studding.

Thinking back I believe that the comment demotivated me because I respected that professor a lot. I hoped he would have chosen to talk in private before calling me lazy in front of the class. Also, I think that it hurt my ego to realized I was not “invincible.” If I juggled work and study one or the other would suffer a low performance.

At the time I took the only action I think I could take, even today. I waited to talk with the professor in private and explained the situation. He did not care about the job, what he called an “excuse.” He said he did that for my own good and that I should learn to take criticism “like a man.” So I ended felling up worse than before.