“I am an A student.” My friend told herself that after failing her freshman year in college. She never studied and wasn’t sure what “A students” did. She asked a med student who was frequently studying, one who appeared quite organized with binders and notebooks. That kind med student shared her studying routine with my friend, who went on to earn straight A’s. Teachers remarked that no one else had ever earned 100% on their tests. The college dean requested a meeting with my friend to ask her how she had transformed her grades.
My friend told me that she believed she was an A student. Even while she still had D’s and F’s, she simply KNEW she was an A student. Her past grades didn’t define her. “There was no F hanging over my head,” she told me.
How was my brilliant friend transformed? To me, the power of belief, the power of faith, the power of encouragement, and the power of mentoring all played a crucial role in her success. Today, this friend and teacher continues to share her wisdom and to mentor others, including me.
Successful teachers believe in their kids. They help kids believe in themselves. Successful and ethical teachers do not look at black kids and think, “Oh well, I’ll do what I can, but….” Neither do they promote a false sense of “You can be anything you want!” I don’t think any of us can be whatever we want, even if we are very smart. My dearest teaching widower would agree that I can’t be an accountant, administrator, or statistician. BUT could most kiddos be “A students?” Absolutely.
To my dearest friend, thank you for teaching me more than I can possibly express.
More tomorrow on another lesson she taught me.