One thing that troubles me today with my students indeed my own daughter, sorry Charlotte, is their fear of failure. I was thinking “What happens when a student takes a risk and fails? How do you respond when a student makes a mistake – especially a character mistake like lying? Do you punish and push kids out of your room for poor character? Or, do you coach them to critically analyze their actions?”
Without a safe, supportive emotional climate, students will not be able to learn from mistakes or take risks. We cannot get authentic growth unless students feel safe being authentic.
Perhaps as role models we must illustrate or admit to our own failures more frequently. Be authentic and reveal your own mistakes – even in-the-moment – and model what it looks like to show integrity, grit, and ownership. Admit that a lesson didn’t go well because you didn’t spend much time planning it?
This modelling is crucial for many reasons. First, it provides examples of character for students who may not have great role-models. Second, it establishes trust by showing that we are all human. Third, in creating that relational trust our students will understand and forgive our mistakes, we create a culture of accountability. They know we are human. They know we also must make mistakes. As parents and teachers we must admit we are infallible.
What is your experience?