To Assume or Not to Assume?


That kid doesn’t want to learn.

My colleague hates change, she won’t ever listen to my idea.

He didn’t even look at me as he walked down the hall. Why is he mad at me?

My sister hasn’t called me in weeks. I must not be important to her.

All of these thoughts have traveled through my mind at times. They are HUGE mistakes I have made. When I think back of all the mistakes I have made in my life (and they are many), some of the worst mistakes are these type of assumptions.

In reality, I have often have no idea what someone else is going through or what they are thinking. Who am I to assume I know? Who am I to think that what they are thinking or feeling is about me?

It took me a while, longer than most, to realize that the world does not revolve around me. That when someone giggles as I walk by, it is most likely not about me. That when someone is looking toward me with an intense expression, it doesn’t mean that I am on their mind.

Though conversation, really listening, and paying careful attention to what people do, I discovered that 99% of the time, others want good things. Their own fears and insecurities get in their way, not feelings about me.

As for students, they want to feel good, they want to be successful. They are scared, or have learned coping mechanisms to protect themselves. Through making positive assumptions about their intentions and building relationships, we can help open students up to learning and challenging themselves. Let’s make work meaningful and engaging. Let’s empower students through their strengths and interests. Hey, while we are at it, let’s do this for teachers too.

Assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.-Isaac Asimov

And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.-Tahereh Mafi

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