By Jessica Jandora, grade 12
As I began my senior year at Arrowhead High School, I was fully aware that it was going to be stressful and exhausting. It was not even November and my parents were already pressuring me to submit my college applications as soon as possible. In addition, I was working on completing community service hours, attending practice, and managing my grade point average. A few of my long school nights ended in tears due to the stresses that kept towering over me. However, I am very grateful for my math teacher Mr. Witte because he encouraged me to control my mindset and turn it into something positive.
I remember the exact day when I entered my Functions class because I was anticipating on receiving a math lecture from Mr. Witte. Instead, as I glanced at his white board, I saw the phrase “E + R = O''. I remember being puzzled because I had heard this term previously, but I wasn't fully aware what it meant.
During this specific class period, I learned about the language around leadership and mindset: event + response = outcome. Most importantly, Mr. Witte highlighted what a person has the most control over; It is how they choose to respond to a certain situation. He taught the class about five constructive stages that will help us better understand how we can control our responses in a healthy way. Everyday in the classroom, Mr. Witte encourages each and every student to have a “stage five mindset”. He motivates us to be grateful for both our accomplishments and failures because, as he likes to say, “comparison is the thief of all joy”.
By the end of Mr. Witte's class, I felt like I was walking away with a completely different mindset. I had a sudden urge to control my responses and to think positively. As I stood up out of my chair, I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. My stress was minimized drastically and I felt more in control of myself than ever.
That same day, when I got home from school, I immediately went onto my phone and created a self note: I called it “Growth Mindset”. In my notes, I listed a number of positive phrases that Mr. Witte taught us during his lecture along with some personal goals. Up until this day, whenever I am feeling distressed or negative, I open up my notes and read the uplifting comments I wrote to myself: “failure is a chance to learn, it is not permanent”, “critical feedback is a chance to improve”, “your response matters, access feelings that enable you to respond differently”, etc.
I appreciate the knowledge that Mr. Witte shared with the class that day. He taught me how to deal with difficult situations by encouraging me to have a positive mindset. I really value how he pushes every student to become successful both inside and outside of the classroom. So, thank you Mr. Witte for inspiring me to become a better person. Your lecure really impacted me and helped me get through some difficult patches. I am very grateful I had you as a teacher this school year.