The past few weeks, I have met with every grade level. For the Second Grade students, my objective was to learn their names, tell them what to do when I forget their names, explain the uniform expectations in UED, and read an entertaining book with funny voices. For the other grades in the Upper Elementary Division, I engaged them in a discussion of the power of ‘yet.’
Little kids think that they can do anything and that they are the best at everything. This wonderland of confidence and possibilities shifts as students get older. Words and phrases from the netherworld enter their vocabulary interrupting and halting confidence. Phrases like I can’t…I never… I don’t like… I am not… flip off their tongues with ease yet impact their capacity to try and to believe in themselves. It is far too easy to quit and proclaim inability than it is to persevere and believe that even though one cannot obtain the goal now, that the future holds the possibility of attainment. Simply by shifting an ‘I can’t’ stance to an ‘I can’t yet,’ one opens up possibilities. As one sharp Fourth Grader recollected from her teacher last year, “It turns a fixed mindset into a growth mindset!”
The faculty have all committed to changing their unproductive language as well by adding the power of yet to their thinking. How many things could we accomplish if we believed in ourselves? How many stumbling blocks could we overcome by persevering rather than halting progress with our fixed mindset? Our words matter. I aim to add the power of ‘yet’ to my thinking and doing.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Maryellen Berry (@fastwalker10) serves the Trinity School community as Upper Elementary Division Head.
Thanks so much for reminding us about the power of yet. As a person on the other end of the age spectrum (clearly not a second grader!), I appreciate the reminder that I don’t know something YET but that it will come if a growth mindset is a regular part of my life…
I was happily surprised at how thoughtful our 6th graders were during your talk with them. They seemed to embrace the idea of YET and wanted to support each other in the pursuit of success. I’m looking forward to a great year with this group!