One Word

As educators, we have word power; what we say to our colleagues or students carries weight, importance. A simple “How’s your day?” to a lonely student might change his day.  It works for colleagues too if you stop to really listen to the response.


Think about learning to drive.  I conjure up memories of my father sternly sitting beside me in the family’s only car.  What I interpreted at that time as impatience was probably his fear I’d total the family’s only vehicle.  Then I remember my Driver’s Ed instructor, who terrified me with his gruffness and foot inching to his brake.  Learning to drive was a painful and memorable process (it took place 50 years ago)!  I was discouraged and defeated again and again.I thought I’d never get a driver’s license.

As I think about that situation,I remember thinking that I would never be a good driver.  I wish there had been an adult to say, “Yet.  You might not be a good driver -- yet.  But you will be.”

Zoom ahead to 2016 (pun intended).  I can’t organize google docs efficiently -- YET.  I can’t play the piano -- YET!  But I can learn how to do both and many other things.

In classrooms today, some students sit listlessly with their heads down.  Or maybe they are fidgeting in their seats. Or trying to sleep.  Or alert but confused.  Some students are defeated; they no longer believe they can learn to read or to do mathematics or complete a science experiment or remember the words and melody of a song.  You get the point.   

Enter the word “YET.”

When a student murmurs, for example, “I can’t do multiplication,” an educator needs to add “yet” to that sentence and teach then student to add YET to that sentence.  “I can’t do multiplication YET.” Or “I can’t read chapter books YET.”  Or “I can’t do 10 jumping jacks YET.”  

Three second grade teachers at L & M Elementary School routinely use “yet” and teach students to use it as well.  They are excited, but not surprised, at the results.  

L & M Second Grade Team:  Kristen Brant, Brooke Morrison, Laura Harned

L & M Second Grade Team:  Kristen Brant, Brooke Morrison, Laura Harned

Brooke Morrison summed it up for the team saying, “Students' academic attitude, social goals, and behavioral expectations have all been positively impacted by Growth Mindset. No longer do we hear "I can't read this." I ‘see’ students trying hard on their own first, then seeking help from a classmate, "Can you help me with this word? I can't sound it out, YET!" It has helped create such a collaborative, "safe to fail" environment in my classroom that is such an awesome place to work and learn!”

So, let’s join a new revolution:  the power of YET.


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