Frankie had a problem in my class that would keep her from being able to write on the current page of her packet. I grade by counting full pages, so leaving one unfinished would hurt her grade. She said, "I can't fill that page because I can't go back to the memory of what I wrote there." My first thought was to say, "Come on, Frankie! Get over it!" but that's obnoxious. That's me bullying, saying I don't care what she thinks and feels. That line teaches her not to care what I think and feel either. It's not the lesson I want her to learn.
Another option is to say, "It's okay, Frankie. Leave that page blank." Though that shows I've listened I don't like teaching her to give up. Surrendering to a challenge is missing an opportunity. Learning (like writing) requires some courage and school should foster that.
Which brings us to the option Frankie and I chose: we fixed the problem. Instead of reacting ("get over it" or "skip it") we responded. Frankie didn't want to see the ten lines atop her page so I grabbed Post-Its and covered the offending passage with them. Frankie liked that well enough to feel comfortable on the page. She started writing.
I hope Frankie felt heard and respected. I know she wasn't bullied or ignored. She didn't take an easy way out, but the way forward was not difficult. She might have even felt some pride at getting through the situation.
Whatever she felt, we both learned something. Who would have expected that ever to happen in school?