Mrs. Bryant Throws the Gyroball

Boy doing math problems

My son’s having some trouble with 8th grade Algebra. When I work with him on it, I can see that he knows the material and he can do the calculations . . . his biggest problem is a fatalistic, let’s-get-it-over-with, I’m-no-good-at-math attitude, which leads to careless errors, and frustration if his first approach to a problem doesn’t work.

I encourage him to take a more positive attitude, to go into the next test saying positive things to himself, like “I know this material” and “I can handle these questions.”

“But I don’t know it,” he says. “Mrs. Bryant [his math teacher] throws the gyroball every pitch! And sometimes she hits me with it!”

What we have here is a classic self-fulfilling prophecy . . .

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