My fourth-grade teacher, Sharin Russell, was consoling me after I scored below perfect on a weekly vocabulary quiz.
“David, nobody gets everything right all of the time,” she said. “It’s important to be OK with making mistakes, so long as we learn from them and move on. I know that you can do that.”
After 10 years in the high school history classroom, I can’t overstate how much these words continue to guide my instruction. Early in my career, with Mrs. Russell in mind, I decided to allow students full-credit retakes on most assessments. I want them to know that they can make mistakes in my class—the world won’t come crashing down around them, and they have a chance to recover.
Mrs. Russell isn’t the only teacher who made a lasting impression on my thoughts and actions in terms of becoming and remaining an effective teacher.
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