Note to self: It is supposed to be hard

Back when I was teaching graduate students, we used to have quarterly teaching team check-ins. This was when all the extended faculty from the d.school would come together and share stories, commiserate with each other and learn a trick or two about how to teach better. In one such session, someone reflected on how students, especially the ones who are coming back to school after being in the professional world, sometimes struggle with classwork being hard. I was definitely one of those myself when I had gone back to school. Tina Seelig made the observation that by just acknowledging it, you can make it easier for the students. Just saying, ‘You know, it is supposed to be hard’.

I think we get lulled into believing something is easy because it came to us easily in a past or a different context. You think you are easy to work with. You think you are a natural. You think you can eat no wrong. And then you find out. Collaboration is hard. Doing good work is hard. Staying positive and optimistic is hard. Negotiation is hard. Staying healthy is hard. And it’s okay. It’s supposed to be hard.

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