Forth grade has been a hard year for Cole. For whatever reason he hasn’t been engaged in his school work or his learning. Maybe it’s puberty. Maybe he is bored. He has mentioned not feeling liked by his teacher. It’s been a hard year.
I understand. Sometimes we find ourselves in a chapter of our lives when we aren’t invested. Sometimes we have to learn to stay afloat. Sometimes we get stuck there. I’m trying to teach Cole to survive fourth grade.
I don’t know the context, and I wasn’t in the classroom, but the other day Cole came home from school upset. His teacher had told him he was going to fail his SOLs. While I wasn’t there, I can imagine what happened to spark this comment. Cole was careless on an assignment. Cole didn’t listen when his teacher tried to help. I’m sure she got frustrated. I know he wasn’t engaged. Her threat was meant as a gentle warning.
Her words hit a place of insecurity in Cole. He doesn’t like to fail. After we worked through the tears and sorted out the facts, we talked about doing our best for no one but ourselves. We reminded him that it’s his responsibility to show up and try his best. Not trying, not caring, not investing aren’t options because he’s only hurting himself.
Monday was the start of the Standards of Learning tests. More than anything, I want Cole to walk away from fourth grade feeling accomplished. I went through the list of reminders:
Pay attention to the details
Read slowly and carefully
Check your work
Check your work again
You are smart
You are capable
And….you aren’t going to fail!!!
And then I couldn’t help but hug him and whisper more words of encouragement before the bus arrived.
My dear Cole. The world is full of people who will tell you that you can’t, that you won’t and that you shouldn’t. People will think you aren’t capable. People will roll their eyes when you are brave enough to say your dreams out loud.
Prove them wrong.
Go do it. Try and try again. You will never fail if you are trying. Don’t do it for them though. Do it for you. Do it so that you never have to wonder what you’re capable of achieving.
The world is your world to conquer.
All week his world and his conquering has come in the form of testing. He got home from school on Monday and whispered I proved her wrong. I know I did good.
Fourth grade is almost over. Fifth grade will bring with it new successes and new lessons to be learned. I hope, if nothing else, Cole learned that only he can determine if he will be successful in life. It’s up to him and no one else.
The world is his world to conquer.