You Can!

by | 05.12.2014

“You can’t!”

“You can’t do it” was what Cortez heard growing up as a minority. “Don’t get any wild dreams,” his relatives said, “You’ll end up like us–poor.”

“You ain’t gonna do much,” other adults said. “You can’t do it.”

—Enter Cortez’ teacher—-

“He believed in me when nobody else did!” Cortez told me recounting the impact of his teacher. “I know I can be what I want.”

That’s the impact of a great teacher! That’s the impact you can make in the lives of your students. They come to you not knowing English. And as they learn more than they thought they could, they realize, “I can do something difficult.”

As you near the end of another term, how do you affirm what your students have done well? How can you communicate that you believe in your students? How can you instill in them the confidence “I can do it!”

Next Steps

  1. If you don’t know your students’ strengths, consultant Michael Buckingham urges leaders to ask, “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?”
  2. Ask another teacher, “What do you do to affirm students’ strengths?”

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