Teachers Nurture Resilience

Resilience is the ability to recover from adversity or challenges. As an educator, you know that some students are better at this than others. While some students seem to take failures in stride, others are so afraid of making a mistake or not being able to learn something, that they seem to give up or refuse  to try. The good news is that you can help your students grow their resilience.

  • Build relationships with your students. Get to know them and grow your ability to see the world through their eyes. Resilience, in part, results when children know they matter to someone.
  • Teach and model that mistakes are opportunities to learn. Develop a classroom culture in which setbacks, failure and disappointment are an expected and valid part of learning.
  • Share stories of resilience. Students and their families often have their own stories of resilience that they don’t recognize as a source of strength. Augment personal stories with examples from real-world people, movies or characters in books. Ensure that many of the examples share a common heritage with your students.
  • Ask curiosity questions. What are different ways of approaching this problem? How might someone else handle it? Who could you ask for help with the first steps?
  • Connect first. Notice when a student needs academic or emotional support around something new or challenging. Validate feelings, “It is hard. It does take practice.” Help your students aim for progress not perfection.
  • Be patient. Resilience doesn’t pop up overnight. It takes time for the brain to grow new neurons. Students may look at a failure as “the end of the world.” Encourage small steps.