When I was taking Physics and Math in high school, we had a teacher who had a unique and embarrassing way of making sure we got our homework done. If we didn’t have some work we could show him on problems in our notebook we would become part of the "chain gang" working out the problem in front of everyone to see up at the blackboard. Being singled out like this was enough to give me nightmares. It seemed that being up in front of such an expanse of empty board was as close to asking me to work out a problem in my head and give an account orally of how I was doing it. Not my thing.
Maybe that is why I have such a dread of working with numbers to this day. Or else it was my discalculia that made me dread the blackboard.
I have gotten over this – mostly. Numbers still cause my brain to shut down. Letting others see the way I am working out other things has, however, gotten easier. I do my best and I know that when someone is watching me work I have something to teach them. I have achieved a level of confidence with most of what I do. And I also know that if I make a mistake it is not the end of the world. In fact that can also be a good way to learn something new.
These past few days I have been flipping over to the "Blackboard" where we are posting reflections and responses to essays and projects posted there by classmates in the spiritual direction course. There’s a wide variety of reports and essays, from a paper on dreams, on addictions, to ones on the second half of life, to Ignatian Spirituality, etc. These represent a lot of work done by my classmates. I know, since it was a lot of work for me.
Reading the work of my classmates is opening up new views on these subjects. Mostly it is a treat to interact with these people again after very little contact for most of the year.