Tuesday, May 22, 2018


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

I recently heard a podcast that talked about resilience. It talked about how when we were more of an agricultural society, children learned about resilience and handling things that they couldn’t control. In today’s society, children tend to have life much easier and aren’t learning how to be resilient. This had me thinking about what I do in the classroom to help students learn to be more resilient. Instead of always solving problems for them, I need to help them figure out ways to solve their own problems.

As a society, we work too hard to make sure our children are comfortable. We don’t want them to want for anything, so we give them too much. It is time to take a step back and help them become more independent.

When my children were growing up, I had a really hard time letting them face natural consequences as long as it didn’t put them in fatal danger.  For example, I wanted to tell them to put a jacket on if I knew it was going to get cold. This sometimes led to arguments and tantrums. Once I learned to back off, they learned to get a jacket in preparation of being cold, because they learned that the last time they forgot, they had to deal with the cold. We weren’t able to return home for them to get their jackets. Natural consequences are a good teacher and it kept me from being the bad guy.

When students forget their school supplies, I can have them discuss ways to solve this problem instead of just giving them what they don’t have. They could borrow from someone else. They could buy some from the school store. They could call home and ask someone to bring them their supplies.

When students don’t turn in their homework, I can find out why they don’t have it and how to fix this in the future. If they did it but left it home, they could call and ask someone to bring it to school. They could take a low grade and turn it in late. If there is an organizational problem, I can help them work out a process that can become a better habit for storing their homework. If they are having a time management problem, I can help them work out a homework schedule.

If they are having a conflict with another student or teacher, I can have them write out the problem. Then they can list possible solutions that would end the conflict. By brainstorming possibilities, it might open up new possibilities. It might also help any future conflicts that might happen.

When students have problems with their classwork, I can help them verbalize their problems instead of letting them just feel frustrated. Once they can understand what their problem is, they can start looking at ways to solve the problem. If they just ignore the problem, it will only get worse.

What are you doing to help your students learn resilience? Please share.

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