Me Talk Pretty One Day By David Sedaris: Effect Of A Professor On A Student Using A Growth Mindset

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Brilliance, prestige, and excellence. These three words describe education. Education is the omen of the 21st century and is the premise for critical, rational, and logical thinking. Overall, it has eminently played a huge role on the development of the 21st century. Education means a lot in everyone’s life as it eases our learning, knowledge, and skill, which can affect one’s entire generation. To achieve an education, everyone needs to push through many challenges, obstacles, and “giants.” When people get pushed over their limit they can become anything they have ever wanted to be without realizing it. Giants are not what everyone thinks they are. The same qualities that appears to give everyone strength are often the sources of great weakness. There is always a way through any giant you may face with an instructor, for instance, with dedication, growth mindset, and barriers; In the most part, conquering the giants will open all the aims of reconstruction in being successful and everyone’s education comes within reach.

It is not an exaggeration to say “a great teacher can affect a student’s life,” as education all beings with an instructor. In the readings by Mike Rose, “I Just Wanna Be Average,” explains how a successful teacher, and an unsuccessful teacher affects a student’s education. Rose attended a school where he was placed in a vocational track. He called it “…most often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected” (185). Students in the vocational track are basically set to have no hope in getting an education. This is where a teacher plays a role. For instance, successful teachers with more positive beliefs regarding their profession will help students push to work hard. On the other hand, Rose’s first teacher’s attitude shows he could not care less about teaching his students with the belief that many of them have no desire to learn, giving Rose a fixed mindset, where he believes he is not capable of learning. Later on, Rose gets a new teacher named McFarland, who genuinely cares for his students and pushes them to work hard. Rose explains “The teachers had no idea of how to engage the imaginations of us kids who were scuttling along at the bottom of the pond” (185). The most important part of education is having a teacher who can teach you and help you understand as well as you possibly can. By going through this process, he overcame his own giant and gave him a growth mindset to pursue a college education. In addition, in the readings by David Sedaris, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” takes an uphill of how a teacher or professor affects a student using a growth mindset.

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Dedication and endurance can get anyone through an educational nightmare. Sedaris moved to France to learn French. His professor was always giving constant harsh criticism. She was an absolute nightmare, and told him, “I hate you.” Sedaris’s giant was his professor, as she would make him feel worthless. Although this was happening every day in class, he still tried his very best and studied endlessly to get better. With the motivation of his peers, it makes him feel more comfortable. Therefore, he kept on going through the class because he was not alone. Sedaris and his classmates all have one thing in common, trying to learn French and being bullied by their teacher, who had very little patience and tolerance for stupidity. After Sedaris has been constantly singled out by his professor, he was determined to create an identity for himself, “I took to spending four hours a night on homework… created some sort of identity for myself” (336). How he overcame himself as a giant was learning the material given to him and to not listen to the worthless advice his professor gave him, but instead use that and turn it into dedication and endurance. The crave you get for learning becomes stronger when you start to understand the material. In the end, Sedaris learned how to speak French. When you get pushed over your limit you can become anything you have ever wanted to be without realizing it. When you are motivated, driven, and have a growth mindset, the world and everything around you is yours for the taking. In realization, the teacher was the “giant,” and pushed him to be successful in something he did not believe would come true. The crave you get for learning becomes stronger when you start to understand the material. With a growth mindset, it shows that everyone controls themselves, so no one should bring anyone down.

In relation to Sedaris and Rose, and their growth mindset, students stay true to themselves and they will become anything they have ever want to be. As a student, it would be unproductive if everything was easy all the time. There are two types of mindsets and they can be approached in different ways: a fixed mindset and growth mindset. A fixed mindset is pretty much a phrasing interpretation. A growth mindset see challenges, obstacles, and failures to become more educated. In the readings by Carol Dweck, “Brainology,” she spoke about how having a fixed mindset can be harmful for students and having a growth mindset helps you challenge yourself. Dweck did an experiment on how young students benefited from having a growth mindset by challenging them to what they were afraid of doing. Her central focus was having a fixed mind will cause students to not face challenges, but instead, it will cause them to let giants step over them. Whereas, challenging themselves will make them resilient and not afraid to commit mistakes, and be able to conquer giants. Keeping a positive attitude, being motivated, and committed is an omen to success in education; However, there is a way we perceive our minds, whether it is something that is fixed or something that can grow and change. The fixed mindset is most common among students and most harmful. If students have a fixed mindset, addressing it early is essential in education. A mindset itself is not fixed. A fixed mindset can be fixed by just thinking it through. Students sometimes believe what they are not capable of learning cannot be conquered, so they do not try.

Although, approaching difficult situations in education is an essential part of exploring what you are truly capable of learning. A student with a growth mindset believes that intelligence is something that can be developed through dedication and hard work. Students who have a growth mindset believe that their abilities in education could be developed and improved. Therefore, they create a love for learning and overcoming a giant. However, with a fixed mindset, they tend to avoid the giant, as they don’t believe it could be conquered; While reading Douglass, “Learning How to Read and Write,” his situation of being a slave during slavery, he managed to learn how to read and write through his growth mindset. Douglass was faced with many giants. Being unable to learn and obtaining an education was not such an easy task for Douglass, but he was determined to not let a fixed mindset take over him. Douglass began his journey with a mistress who taught Douglass how to read and write, until the mentality of slavery strips her of her sympathy, making her a giant. “Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch, no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell” (Douglass 126). Although she stopped teaching him, she taught him the most important thing, no one was going to stop him in achieving his goal. He turned everyone into his instructors; He was determined to learn. He would get help from white children in the neighborhood and began reading everything he could see or to get into his possession. By going through this process, he overcame his giant and became his instructor. This was the foundation of his new mindset. He would use the same giant that enslaved him to serve his ultimate purpose in life. Douglass overcame his “giant” by continuing his thirst for knowledge and to not let being a slave stop him. When faced with a giant, it shouldn’t be avoided. Experiencing giants, anyone will gain valuable knowledge.


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