“We’re All Losers”


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:

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8 responses to ““We’re All Losers”

  1. Awesome Matt! To receive that note must have meant the world to you. They are all learning, in time, that they all matter in and out of the classroom. Think about this ~ when we make mistakes as adults, we can be hard on ourselves; it just seems like human nature, sometimes. Why is it easier to focus on the negative, rather than the positive? We all do it, even when we’re all grown up.

    Your lesson of “you matter” is so important, and hopefully will become so prominent in your student’s lives, as you teach this philosophy daily. What better lesson could you hand over to these children? This is a lesson that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives!

    I’m going to send you a video clip through twitter message, once I can retrieve it. Hopefully, you will see that “you matter” starting so young in the classroom may save so many students’ feelings of self-worth.

  2. Very sweet kid 🙂

  3. What an awesome post! Taking a potentially damanging situation, turning it on its head, and using it in that manner, wow! I can imagine the pride in their faces to read that “you matter” message from you! And the little guy who responded?? Goodness what a moment! Treasure that note and pull it out to remind yourself that not only do they matter, but you do too!

    Darin – @aniowateacher

  4. Your story just makes my heart sing!! As a mom to an 8 year old, thank you so much for teaching young children they matter. It’s the most important lesson they will EVER learn!!

  5. Wow! LOVE this! You rock ! And YOU MATTER!

  6. Very moving and uplifting. ♥

  7. Ryan…you do matter! These children are so lucky to have such a passionate teacher such as yourself! SO AWESOME!

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