When your student keeps failing
Practice doesn’t always make perfect. Let’s quit telling the lie that it does and start fixing the real problem. If you do something wrong a thousand times, you’re not automatically going to get it on the 1001st try. Perfect practice makes perfect. Continued improvement and getting better each time will help you perfect a craft, but it doesn’t guarantee success.
We’ve all had students in our classroom who are smart, have a lot to offer—but they continually fail. There isn’t enough positive reinforcement that can make someone something they’re not. So what do you do when you’ve got that student sitting in front of you?
When your student is failing
■ Believe in them. Don’t give up on them yet. This might be their true passion and maybe in time they’ll get the hang of it. Sometimes self-doubt is what’s making them fail. Be their cheerleader and believe in them. I have my students chant, “I can do this! I can do this.” That little exercise does wonders and wipes away self-doubt.
■ Celebrate their improvement. Once they do something that inches them closer to success, encourage them and keep pushing them to improve. Just because they have to work harder than others doesn’t mean they’re not cut out for this career. Celebrate every milestone and give them hope.
■ Be open with your failures. Make your students feel comfortable coming to you to discuss their problems by being open with yours. I may have a cosmetology license, but I’m terrible at doing nails. This is something I tell my students. You don’t have to be good at everything—you just have to be good at something. So, together let’s find that thing!
■ Steer them in another path. Every industry offers a variety of jobs. It’s possible that your struggling student is better suited for a career they’re either not aware of or hadn’t considered. Point out their positives and help them find something they’d be good at.
Don’t ever make a student feel like less of a person if they’re failing. The truth is, they already know it and are harder on themselves internally then you could ever be. It’s our job as educators to give a student the tools they need to do something they’re passionate about. Never underestimate the power of an educator!