Studying hard is not just not fun, it is often discouraging as well.I want to share a simple story with you today. It is about the time I first learned about studying hard.
All through middle school I had the same English teacher. Today she would be called the Language Arts teacher but what's in a name. I'll call her the evil Ms. Carter (not her real name). She was of the opinion that there was but one way to skin a cat when it came to writing. It had the following steps. First, write an outline. Next, write a draft, Finally, write the finished essay. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it?
Study Hard: The Outline Phase
I have never been able to outline from scratch. Sure I can outline anything already written but to outline makes me crazy. It is a learning style thing. I am a lister, a scribbler. I jot notes to myself and then see if I can't find a way to put them together. So when the evil Ms. Carter assigned an essay (always on Friday) it ruined my weekend.
To produce an acceptable outline, I had to write the entire essay and then outline it. I was stuck in the house over the weekend as I wrote the paper so I could turn in the outline on Monday.
Study Hard: The Writing Phase
When I turned in the outline I knew it would come back with permission to start writing. Hah, I thought, I have already written the paper. It is sitting at home waiting for Thursday when it was due. I finished my work; now I had nothing to do. I could tell my parents I had no English homework because I did the work over the weekend. While the evil Ms. Carter expected us to write in class, I didn't see the point. I drew pictures, made lists of things for other classes, jotted notes about other homework. It wasn't long before the evil Ms. Carter wondered what I was doing.
Try To Explain to your Teacher
Try though I might to explain that my paper was already written it was falling on deaf ears. One time I tried telling her that the paper was at home sitting on my study desk. Another time I actually brought the paper to school with me so I could show her the finished product. No matter what I did, I could not get through to her that I couldn't outline unless I was outlining from a book.
She tried to shame me into doing things her way. One Friday she had me stay after school to work on that week's essay outline. After about an hour she finally gave up. When I came back to class on Monday with a perfect outline she told me she believed someone else wrote it for me.
For three years I was subject to the problem of having to study the way someone else thought I should. I shied away from writing for years after that experience. It wasn't until I was a sophomore in college that I met an English teacher who figured it out. I learned then the outline is great for logical learners. For someone like me it wasn't a good tool at all. Dr. Bond saw that I liked to list things, to make doodles, draw lines to make connections, and such. That was all she needed to explain that I was a linguistic learner, one who finds connections in chaos.
Of course, the point of this story is that once you discover how you learn, the world of learning opens up in unexpected ways. Dr. Bond freed me from the guilt of not being able to outline. I suspect that the evil Ms. Carter never changed as she crippled many more students during her career.