Learning, a letter to my students

You’re not perfect. There are a lot of things you won’t be good at. You won’t always win. You won’t get everything right the first time. Or the second. Maybe not even the third time. You will mess up. You will fall. You will have bad days. I will probably make you cry at least once. And all of that is ok. You’re not supposed to be perfect or good at everything. You’re still learning. All of us are, even me.

So what do you do when you get it wrong? If I am running and I trip and fall, what do I do? I get back up and then I’m running again. My favorite suffix, or word ending, is -ing. It means that something is happening right now. It hasn’t stopped. It hasn’t given up. It’s not done. Nobody expects it to be perfect yet because it’s not done. It is ok if you trip and fall. It will happen. I expect it. Just get back up and keep going. You are here to learn. You are learning. It won’t be easy, but that is fine because easy is boring. You won’t learn from easy.

Some of you might be thinking: “You want us to mess up?” I don’t want you to try to mess up, but it is ok if you do. It is even ok if you take a minute (or two) to be frustrated or cry. It is even fine if you’re mad at me for making it hard for you. As long as you don’t give up. I want you to mess up because I want you to learn how to learn from it. I want you to learn how to get back up, here where it is safe. Grown ups mess up all the time. It is the ones that know how to get back up that make a difference and become our heroes. Even heroes mess up and get it wrong. They just don’t give up.

Most importantly: I want you to know all of this, not because I don’t think you can and I know you’ll fall, but because I know that you can and will. You are all smart, strong, amazing people. You’ve got this.

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