The words stopped me in my tracks and brought a silence upon the classroom yesterday afternoon. After several students realized their mistake on a brief quiz, in which they had to write a number greater than one provided, they were upset with themselves. One student said, “I lost.”
Then another one said those horrible words: “We’re all losers.”
A seven-year old said this.
I was a bit dumbfounded, and then I was very sad.
I wanted to tell them how great is it to make mistakes. I wanted to tell them about mistakes I made this year and how I’ve tried to learn from them. I wanted to tell them they sound like they’re giving up on their dreams and trying. I wanted to tell them that they come to school to learn, and no one comes to school knowing everything.
I did tell them these things. I don’t know if they registered.
So when they all left, I wrote a message to each child on an index card.
Today, I talked to them about trying, believing, accepting, making mistakes and learning. And I gave them all their own mystery envelope with this message inside.
I hope they believe it.
Late in the day a student eagerly puffed his chest out and stuck this in my hand: