Tuesday, July 13, 2021


I remember when I was a student and my parents were given ideas on how to help me achieve my potential. I even heard my colleagues tell parents that their students were not achieving their potential. What is potential?

According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, potential means “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”

To my students, the word potential is scary or meaningless.

The word potential reminds me of an old Army commercial stating “Be All That You Can Be!”

When I hear people talk about not achieving their potential, I perceive it as saying that person is useless or lazy. So, I stopped talking about potential and started showing students how to achieve it.

I listened to students talk about their wishes and their dreams. Believe me, after facing many mistakes and failures, this is very hard for students. They are afraid to wish or dream so how can we expect them to reach their potential?

I notice the things that interest my students. They may be interested in something but not know how to do it or just want to know more about a specific topic.

I observe their strengths and discuss this with my students. Many of my students are often told their weaknesses but no one seems to focus on their strengths. A lot of my students are surprised when I tell them what I see.

I help my students look to the future and set small goals that are achievable. Once they start seeing a measure of success, they can begin to hope again.

Once I meet with the students and share what I have heard them say, notice their interests, observe their strengths, and help them set goals, we can start a plan of action. Without them realizing it, this action is what moves them to achieve their potential. Without all of these parts, I don’t think achieving potential is even a possibility.

How do you help students achieve their potential? Please share.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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