Wednesday, July 28, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

Many of my students have failed so many times that they don’t feel like they have any worth. It is so sad to see a person so downtrodden at such a young age. They don’t have any hope and have such a lack of energy to even try to get better. They feel so lonely and just want to give up.

One of the first things I do in my class is to try to change this around. I don’t feel like we can move forward until I can show them that there is hope. They can succeed and I am here to help them. They are not alone.

I start off by introducing the class motto: I am a Born Winner! They have to write this on every paper they turn in for a grade. I start off the morning by having everyone say this together. Throughout the class, I may stop and ask individual students what our class motto is. Before they leave my class, everyone says this together. Eventually, they start believing it.

I also find out what levels they are learning at. At first, I may give an assignment that I know they can complete successfully. I may give several assignments like this so that they start having some successful experiences. Then I slip in some harder work and I stay close to help them navigate the work successfully. Eventually, I wean my assistance from them until they can do it on their own. Sometimes they don’t even realize that they have been successful. I tell them it is like learning to ride a bike. Sometimes there is someone holding their bike as they learn and then all of a sudden they can do it all by themselves.

I also try to learn something new with them. Sometimes I make mistakes but it is good for them to see this. I try to explain that making mistakes doesn’t change my worth at all. It is the motivation for me to not give up and to try harder.

I also explain that everyone has their individual strengths and no one is great at everything. Just because someone is better at something than I am doesn’t make that person better than I am. It is when we put our individual strengths together that make us stronger.

Once students start having hope that they can succeed, they are willing to take risks. Once they see that failure or success does not measure a person’s worth, they are more comfortable with trying new things.

How do you help students see their worth? Please share.

Photo by Sabrinna Ringquist on Unsplash

No comments: