blogmas, opinion, rants

Blogmas Day 21: Asking For Help


Hey guys!

This post isn’t really related to Christmas, but I think it’s a really important thing to discuss.

Personally, I think that the idea of “asking for help” is something that scares a lot of people. At school, especially, is sort of the place where this fear can set in. You don’t want to ask a seemingly simple question, because you don’t want to come across as “stupid”, so you just suffer in silence.

For me, these subjects were the “academic” subjects, like Maths and Physics and Chemistry… which in itself is ridiculous, because why is it that these subjects are for “clever people”? There isn’t anything that defines how clever you are or aren’t- scientific subjects certainly aren’t something to judge people by. It’s just the fact that your strengths aren’t the same as your best friend’s strengths, and vice versa. From primary school, all the way up to year eleven, I hated these subjects because I was a bit slower at doing the sums, because it just took me that much longer. Whereas with English, I got it instantly. And it was hard, because two of my best friends are taking scientific subjects at A-levels, because they want to be Doctors, which is great, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I just feel a bit daunted with all this information that they’re talking about in a way that sounds like I should be understanding it, but I just don’t. And sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t ask them to explain it because I think that the way that they’re talking about it is the easiest way to explain it, so I just leave it at that.

But going back to actual lessons, and asking the teacher for help, I was often too scared to put my hand up even when I knew the answer because I was so scared of getting it wrong. I didn’t want people to laugh at me. I would never make eye-contact with the teacher, in case they picked on me, and the whole class would be waiting in silence, and all that would be going through my head was “Oh God everyone’s looking at me, Oh God they must think I’m such an idiot, this must be the simplest question in history and I don’t know the answer…” and the worst part is when the teacher tries to help. They try and say “Well if A=B, then what’s C?”. I still didn’t know the answer, so they’d either let someone else answer, or tell the class the answer in a really disappointed tone. If that doesn’t put someone off answering a question in maths, I don’t know what will.

The reason I wanted to talk about this, is because I don’t know why people are so scared of asking for help. I would often just wait for the teacher to come to me and help me while the class was doing the work, rather than ask a question in front of everyone. I preferred having that one-on-one help, because the teacher could then explain it to me in a way that I wouldn’t feel intimidated by.

I suppose this could be a bit like when you’re on a family holiday, and your dad won’t ask for directions because he’s “sure he knows the way there”, but maybe it’s just a confidence thing, you know?

I know there’s nothing wrong with asking someone for help. With the subjects I’m taking now, I feel more confident than ever, and there’s no problem when it comes to asking what we’re actually supposed to be doing.

I don’t know. I thought I should just put it out there to let the teachers of the internet take some advice? Or… I don’t know… I just thought that it was an important thing to discuss really.

-The Storyteller

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5 thoughts on “Blogmas Day 21: Asking For Help”

  1. I don’t think I have ever related to a post so much in my life! I am in top set for all my classes and so I feel as though everyone else is so smart and that my answers are seen as stupid. I however like maths and despise my science and english class because I feel more insecure in them, whereas even in maths when I am 99.9% sure I have the correct answer, I will never ever put my hand up because its the fear of getting it wrong when you were so confident that it was right and so I sit and suffer until the teacher picks me. And also like you said, I either don’t look at the teacher in the eye or I start drinking my water so I physically won’t be able to answer them! xx

  2. Hi. Speaking as someone who was not that long ago a ‘mature student’. i can relate to you both not wanting to look foolish in front of others, and lacking confidence in yourselves.
    However, even though I am a shy person, I am also a determined one! I wanted to ensure that I succeeded as It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I was not going to possibly miss out on understanding something because of making myself look silly (I can do that anyway).
    I think that your friends would be only to happy to explain the scientific stuff to you (it makes us feel good when we can help someone else) and I really don’t think they would think any the less of you for it, far from it!
    Don’t sit there worrying, and sweating over the teacher picking on you, if you know the answer,, stick your hand up, and go for it! If you are wrong, so what? Alright you might feel a bit of a prat for 5 mins, but I bet you were not the only one that came up with that answer,
    Anyway, Sorry, I seem to have rambled on a bit but I just wanted to encourage you both to never be afraid to ask for help!

    1. It’s weird, because a lot of the time I consider myself to be quite confident, like when I’m at my swimming club, I don’t care if I look like an idiot, because I’m one of the oldest swimmers there and I know that the younger swimmers look up to me and my friends, and I want them to feel comfortable and I’ll always make them feel welcome. But at school it’s a completely different environment. I do often tell myself to “Just do it”, but sometimes it takes a while to build up the courage before I miss my chance!

      1. I think it’s great that you at such a positive role model at your swimming club, and you make the younger ones feel welcome. That certainly takes a lot of courage.
        I understand that school is a very different environment, and I am sure you WILL find your courage. 🙂

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