Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knee Jerk

Old habits are hard to shake. While I am trying to start a new habit with the "262 words or more" challenge, there are plenty of other habits that I would like to shake or reform. One in particular is the habit of doing a "knee jerk". While some might confuse knee jerk with the sharp reflex that is caused when striking the patellar tendon, it is instead reserved for an automatic reaction to something. Sort of like, shoot first, ask questions later. I guess that’s the first step in changing is acknowledging that the problem exists right?

My "knee jerk" reaction most recently had to do with the completion of an online graduate class for my Special Education Supervisor program. While in the past I have steadfastly refused to participate in an online class due mainly to the fact that I actually like going to school and interacting with my peers, this class was more out of necessity given the time constraints with the family this semester. I quickly fell into a routine of completing assignments and receiving little or no feedback on them, but began to have a bit of anxiety when I checked the grade book and noticed that there were no grades posted for several of the most important projects. The "knee jerk" reaction was to jump the conclusion, "Well, the professor is not doing their job". After taking some time to actually stop and think, I emailed the professor. I stated that the end of the semester was approaching and that if I needed to redo any of the assignments that I needed to be notified in order to make corrections. A response soon followed from the professor and my "knee jerk" was for naught. They indicated that the online grade book had several system errors and was being worked on by the IT department and that I had earned all of my points for the semester. Furthermore, a mass email soon followed to all of my classmates indicating the problem with the grade book and to enjoy our holiday. Now, if I had wanted to head down another “knee jerk” of mine to question the answer as to why this had not been mentioned earlier, I could have, but stopped to think and seeing as my original question had been answered, I left well enough alone

In the end, and as I travel down the road the lesson that I need to keep reminding myself of before heading towards a "knee jerk" is best summed up in the words of Joe Friday, "Just the facts ma'am".

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