It’s that time of year at many schools, the end of the semester, the point in the school year during which teachers hear all too often too late, the infamous question, “What can I do to raise my grade?” I get that same sensation of despair when a student earns an F as I did back as a first year teacher. Even after all the extra encouragements, the extra times before or after class, the reminders, the talking and emailing parents, the tutoring . . . . we teachers can’t help but wonder what more could be done . . . it’s the nature of the beast of the biz.
The fact is that we ultimately teach the students NOT the subject. Before she hired me, the principal of my school (now our superintendent!) asked me which I teach – no brainer – I instantly declared the students. Yes, we have a curriculum to follow but it is the life lessons that students walk away with that help shape them into the bright, capable young adults they soon become.
Case in point . . . one of my sophomore reading students, upset over his grades and the realization he completed too little too late, wrote himself off as a failure. I stopped him right in his tracks today and asked him, “Did you know there’s no such thing as failing in life? You absolutely cannot fail.” He shot back a quizzical stare as I continued to explain that, yes, he may have to attend summer school or take a class he doesn’t want to take, but under no circumstances that matter in life can he ever truly fail. He may stumble as he is stumbling now with his grades but he can use that despair to push himself forward.
A young man may break an arm but perhaps gain some more mobility in the other arm and appreciate dexterity all the more when the break heals. A driver may get lost but discover an uncharted road with special sights she may never have seen had she not taken the wrong turn. A woman may lose something, have something taken away at a time she believes she cannot do without it. Something else eventually replaces the loss, something special she may not have gained otherwise.
In other words . . . regardless of what happens, when it happens, or how it happens, the one thing one absolutely cannot do is fail. Live and learn is a cliché but it’s the truth. Our hardest stumbles can lead to our greatest triumphs. Yes, some of us even gain scars from those stumbles but all scars fade as time goes on. We can live peacefully with those scars and move on.
We may not always get an A in school or an A on a GG review, 🙂 but we cannot fail in life. Move through every experience and situation with grace, knowing your success is assured.