But today I made a big mistake. I assumed something bad about a student and let my brain make negative conclusions.
I’ve been working pretty hard with this student since August to build a relationship, develop trust, and encourage her to seek support and not to give up. We’ve been making a lot of progress — until today.
It’s her day to see her grammar coach at lunch. Last Wednesday, my student missed her appointment because she was finishing up college applications. When I reminded her, my student said, “Oh no. I have so many things to do today.” My response was: “You made a commitment, so you need to be there.”
I was sure that my student would honor her appointment, but when her time came, I could not find her. Instantly, familiar defensive and angry feelings came up. How dare she miss her appointment right after I told her to show up! What’s her problem? Instead of remembering the progress my student has made, and instead of trusting the relationship we’ve forged, I immediately got mad.
Then I saw her printing out her essay in the corner of the room.
I breathed deeply, and I noticed my big mistake. Even though she knew nothing of my negative thoughts, I approached my student and told her that I believe in her and that I will always trust her.
This incident is a big wake-up call. Indeed, students have let me (and themselves) down many times, and as many times I’ve seen growth, I see regression. Still, that does not mean that I can jump to negative conclusions.
I am too quick to judge.
If I’m truly fighting against the predictability of student failure, I must fight against my own predictable thoughts of student failure. If I ask my students to believe in themselves and their ability to achieve, I must believe in them, too.