Teaching Perseverance in the Classroom

“You can. You will. You must.” A statement we should make every day.

Perseverance is a struggle for a lot of students, especially for those who may lack self-confidence. Giving up is easy for them and giving up may be all they’ve known. Kids who lack self-confidence are not able to motivate themselves to keep going because they either do not think that they can do it or they think that nobody will care if they do.

Teachers make a positive difference and have a big influence in students’ lives. As a teacher, it is my job to instill in our students’ mind that they can do anything and that no dream is out of reach. It is important that I set the expectation that they will succeed and help guide the path to get there. Teachers must lead by example. It is easy to say, “Well, if you don’t care, I don’t care,” but this does not encourage a student to believe in themselves if they feel like you don’t believe in them. Be the difference and use powerful language like, “I care and I know you can do it.” If you say it enough times, they will believe it, too.

At Bradford Academy, our motto is, “I can. I will. I must.” We must model this at our school even when the going gets tough. You can do it. You will do it. You must do it.

Perseverance should be used on a daily basis in the classroom.

Our classroom is a team… but more than that, it is a family. In my classroom, I do a lot of team-building activities to build a strong classroom community. It is important that all students feel included and a part of the team. Every day, the team works together to accomplish tasks whether it be cleaning the room or walking in line. We practice using positive language to encourage our team members and friends. When kids are surrounded by an environment of encouragement, they are less likely to give up because they feel that more people care for them as they “cross the finish line.” You will see kids helping kids persevere through the day and motivating each other. This is powerful to watch and kids will thrive if the expectation is there. The team is there to pat you on the back, give you a high five, or pick you up when you fall down.

Celebrate success.

To motivate students to persevere, it is important that you celebrate and acknowledge even the smallest steps towards success. Make every effort a big deal and tell them that you are proud of them. When a student feels that someone is proud of them, they become proud of themselves. Every ounce of effort is a step closer to the finish line and one more time they didn’t give up.

Every child wants to succeed. Every child wants to learn. Every child wants to cross the finish line. It’s up to us to coach the team. It’s up to us to lead them to victory.

Melody Boone is a kindergarten teacher at Bradford Academy in Southfield, MI. Ms. Boone has been teaching kindergarten for the past three years and it is her first year as lead teacher at her school. At Bradford, she is the Social Media Director and Social Chair. She earned her degree at Western Michigan University in Elementary Education. Additionally, she has her ZA endorsement in Early Childhood Education.  Ms. Boone’s classroom motto is, “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”