Sara was my favourite student of all time. She was 9 years old when I started teaching her. She wasn’t the smartest student in the class, and she knew it. In fact, she consistently got the worst grades and other students often laughed at her. She thought she couldn’t learn.
Seeing a child accept her inferiority broke my heart. I decided to change her mind. I constantly praised her efforts and told her not to worry about the results. I assured her that she could learn. I taught her to try. I changed her philosophy. She amazed me and earned my deepest respect through her constant enthusiasm and effort, even during the hardest times.
After a year of this, Sara’s mother came to see me. She wanted me to know that Sara had improved dramatically in all of her school subjects. She had learned to push herself and that trying is a fulfilling experience, regardless of how long it takes to achieve the results.
Sara learned the most important truth about learning itself. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. Everyone can learn. Learning rewards everyone.
I learned this through years in technical management positions in which mentoring was part of how I managed my teams. Through years of teaching, I learned how to mentor students of all ages. When a teacher believes in their students, the students believe in themselves.
Everyone can learn everything. We are all learning, all of the time.