In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. -Bill Cosby
Inherently kids want to be successful. They don’t show up to school thinking about how wonderful it will be to fail at school. No matter how tough they are on the outside, they all show up wanting to be themselves, grow, and achieve.
This has been very apparent at school in the past few days. My students are getting to a milestone in Spanish class – the first round of summative assessments. This week, they will show me what they can do in the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They have been working for weeks, and it is show time. There are nerves, excitement, and a lot of apprehension. For many of my students, this is their first time taking an summative assessment in Spanish, and for all of my kids this is their first time taking one from me. Little do they know just how prepared they are. We have been working very diligently. The students have been practicing all four skills, and they have been given tools to practice additionally at home. Yet any time you take a risk and try something new, there is a possibility of failure.
I must be realistic. Even though I feel that these kids are well prepared to assess, some will fail. Some will fall below the line of proficiency. Some will do it out of nerves (the wonderful test brain freeze, anyone?), some will not have done enough practice. But standards based learning and grading will save the day. It will swoop in to help these students find their way to proficiency. More practice will take place, formative feedback will be given, and they will reassess. Why? Because it is important that they learn it, not when they learn it.
Some of my students are arriving at the point of retakes and are finding success. The smiles that light up their faces when they know they improved is one of my favorite parts of teaching. They appreciate a second chance, and are ready to move on and learn more language. Success breeds more success, and that is what I want to spread in my classroom.
Be a champion for your students. Demand that they learn, show them how to get up after they fall down, and lead them to success. We will create a class of students who are excited about learning, and who know how to seek and find knowledge.