When you think about your students, do you find yourself naturally putting them into categories? There’s the sharp ones, the creative ones, the disruptive ones, the ones with attitude problems, the ones with academic struggles, etc….
It’s only natural to start labeling people, but if we really want every one of our students to succeed – and I know we do – then we have to stop labeling them and start believing in them.
All of them.
We have to start believing that the kid who doesn’t seem to ever remember his homework is capable of organization and diligence.
That the student who is miserably behind grade level can get caught up and eventually excel.
That the one who keeps giving us a major attitude can be won over and become one of our biggest blessings.
Why We Must Believe in Our Students
I’ll be the first to admit that this is easier said than done. I don’t always truly believe int the potential of all my students. Sometimes I’m so frustrated by the constant issues and the seeming lack of progress that I seriously doubt if this kid will ever get his act together.
But when we allow ourselves to doubt our students’ potential, we basically consign them to stay right where they are. Because if we don’t believe in them and show them what they’re capable of, it’s highly unlikely that they’re ever going to change.
On the other hand, when we do believe in their potential, when we do have a vision of where they can be a year or two from now, then that vision is contagious. Our belief in them influences how we interact with them and leads us to inspire and motivate them in different ways.
Remember that Growth Takes Time
Sometimes it feels like believing in a particular student is like looking for pie in the sky. But the key is remembering that growth takes time.
Sometimes you work with a student for a month, two months, even a year without seeing much progress. But then you’ll see them the next year or talk to one of their teachers and they’ll be doing great.
That’s because growth often takes time. And we don’t always see the results right away.
Growth often takes time. And we don’t always see the results right away.
So when you’re really having trouble believing a particular student will ever get her act together, don’t give up on her. Remember that growth is a process and believe in her potential. Think about where she could be in a year or two. Imagine what she could accomplish as an adult. Hold on to that vision and allow that ultimate goal to color your vision and influence your interactions.
Believe in your students, and you’ll see them do amazing things.
Do you find it challenging to believe in some of your students? Let’s encourage one another by sharing stories of students in whom we saw incredible growth. Share your experience with a comment below.
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Back to School Series
This is the last post in our back-to-school series. Click here to see the other posts.