Working with the school district, there have been countless students who have believed that they were hopeless. If left to their own devices, these students might continue down that road, believing that they have no other choice but to fail. Thankfully, as educators, we have an opportunity to provide solutions. We can show these students new ways of looking at themselves and their worlds that can get them back on track with joyful living.
There was a first grade student who was always getting pulled aside by his teachers for acting out of line and disrupting others. While a part of him enjoyed the attention, there was another part of him that felt dejected. It was clear from talking to him that he felt that he had no other choice than to get in trouble. He was in need of someone who could show him another way.
His teacher was experienced and cared enough to reach out for support. As a team, we worked together to find solutions. Part of the solution was helping this student to see himself in a new light. While talking one day, I let him know that many great minds struggled in school. I reassured him that although it was challenging now, I was confident that he would get a handle on this school thing sooner than later.
After that day, when we saw each other, I always highlighted the progress he was making. I would do this even if it was only the slightest thing. I acted as a cheerleader and encouraged him to keep up the good work. The twinkle in his eye grew brighter every time we checked in. Rather than punishing him for failing in his attempts, I modeled for him a voice that reminded him that no matter what happened, his job was to get back up and give it another go. This, after all, is the only way to experience meaningful success.
There are times in life when we all find ourselves confused about how to proceed. Our fears, doubts and worries converge on us, seemingly without warning. At times like these, it is easy to become discouraged. We might start to believe that we are not meant to be successful or that there is something inherently wrong with us. Thankfully, there is always a way through.
If you have been beating yourself up over your perceived short comings, it is time to sing a new song. Become the cheerleader that you need to help you through the challenges that life presents you with. Remind yourself that the contrast you are experiencing will give way to greater clarity and more fulfilling experiences. While others can attempt to do this for you, this voice must come from within if it is to have lasting value.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also the co-host of “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” podcast on Unity Online Radio and wherever you enjoy podcasts. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org