Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More is Less and Less is More

No, it's not opposite day.  I'm not about to explain an episode of SpongeBob or a prank that I plan on pulling off.  I'm just going to explain those two concepts.

More is Less.

Less is more.

We hear the second one quite a bit.  Especially if you've been in the weight loss circuit for a while.  People are always mentioning how you can indeed have too much of a good thing...and that less is more.

But, do you really stop to think about what that means.

Those two phrases have been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of days.  Both with my weight loss efforts and in my classroom.

Last week, I was pretty cranky with my kiddos in my classroom.  They seemed "off".  They weren't really that focused or motivated to do anything.  I had to explain myself over and over and over.  I found myself lecturing them almost every day about the importance of their education, their futures, and just how frustrating it was to see them so nonchalant with everything.

There was, however, one class last week that did really well.  That was my math class.  We're tackling 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication.  That's a tough concept for any 4th grader.  For the kids in my math class, it was a very daunting task.  Yet, they were real troopers.  Every day they were involved with the class discussions, enjoyed coming up to the board to work examples, did their few homework problems I gave them (for the most part).

Then, on Monday, they had their test.  It wasn't good.  Not by a long shot.  I was so frustrated and upset when I saw the results of the test.  I just couldn't believe that they had done so well the week before, but seemed to have forgotten everything over the weekend.

Then, it hit me.  Last week, I wasn't assigning them tons of problems to work.  We just discussed, practiced, and then they had a few problems to work on their own.

Last week... Less was More because I gave them less work, but got a lot more brain power and dedication out of them.

Monday, their test contained 30 problems.  That may not sound like much, but half of them were word problems.  They hadn't done that many problems at once throughout the entire topic.

Monday, More was Less because I gave them more problems and got less out of them.  Because they were overwhelmed and frazzled.

I had to take a step back, yesterday, and reevaluate my game plan.  If they did so well last week, but so poorly on Monday... then I have to scale back.  I'd much rather have more brain power working on less problems than less brain power being used on more problems.  Right?

And that lesson I learned has to be carried across all areas of my classroom...and my life outside of it.

I don't mean make life easier.  Less problems, less work, less responsibility.  That's not the point.  But, in order to get more motivation and dedication - I have to push less.  Any parent or caregiver knows that the more you push a kid to do something you want them to do, the more they'll push back.  The less I push, the more they give back.

Look at Butter.  For years, he pushed me.  The less he cared the more angry I got.  When I flipped that around and gave him less attention during one of his moods, the more likely it was that it would pass a lot sooner.

Look at my weight loss.  The less I eat, the more weight I lose.  The more excuses I have and the more I eat, the less I lose.

I'm pretty sure that if I took some time to conduct some major study, I'd find this to be the case with just about anything going on in the lives of people.

The more overwhelmed you become, you start to care less.

The less stressed you are, the more you care.

So, what am I saying with this long banter?

Regardless of what the situation is, if you start to get to a break point and feel like you just can't take anymore... then you have to start cutting back.  In order to get more out of life, you have to focus on less.  Or something like that.  There's a great point in there somewhere, if I could just come up with the right words.

That's my deep thought for the week, and something I'm going to try and start practicing.

The more I say, the less I make sense.  So, I'm going to leave it at that.



  1. You know what I love about you? That you are WILLING to take a step back and re-evaluate. Many never do that and keep doing the same things and expect the same results. I've said it before and I'll say it again - those kids and your children are lucky to have you - as a teacher and a mom.

    1. And do you know what I love about YOU? The fact that you can always put the biggest smile on my face with the beautifully sweet compliments. Thanks, Draz!!


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