I think we’ve all had to deal with some disappointment in our careers, past, present, and even likely in the future. While I’m sure it will help me become stronger, I can certainly find another way to relate with my students about how to deal with things that don’t always go your way.
At the beginning of each semester, I have a discussion with my students about ways to approach themselves, peers, and staff when they are frustrated or upset about an outcome. I don’t want my students to have negative self talk and put themselves down. First tries aren’t always the best tries. I also discuss how to talk to their classmates and partners about expressing themselves and approaching compromise without yelling or bullying. Finally, I also talk about how to approach a teacher when they are confused or upset with assignments or marks. Yes, I really do.
I give “case scenarios” and we walk through options, advantages and disadvantages, and how to express ourselves without necessarily upsetting or making the receiver want to walk away. Dealing with disappointment will likely show up outside the classroom as well, so giving a student options for his behaviour can help.
In saying this, I also need to find a way to deal with my own pitfalls in the workplace. I can’t dwell in negative self talk, I need to find a way to focus on the positive and find ways to improve my options for the future. Modelling appropriate behaviour is essential. If I don’t “practice what I preach” I won’t be taken very seriously by my students.
What I’m learning for myself if that sometimes you do the very best you can, but don’t get the end result you hope for. I can practice, seek help, take the necessarily steps, follow up, but still not achieve my ultimate goal. Students will feel the same way, “but I did everything I was supposed to!!” and still it’s not what you need. While always hoping to achieve more, sometimes failure makes you strengthen your resolve and make changes you weren’t aware you could make. At the very least, it makes you human and notice that everyone else struggles at some point, and how you deal with that struggle makes you better.