award-winning educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author/writer, program executive, and radio host
Students don’t fail; they just don’t achieve their (maximum) potential. This is one reason that I often hold a make-up class or classes for students who might otherwise not pass. Some might consider this to be too generous or that this doesn’t teach a lesson about the consequences of inaction. However, I strongly believe that this is an opportunity for redemption to provide a hand-up --- and not a hand-out.
I could register an “F” on a student’s transcript, but… is this the best lesson or solution?!
By providing students with a little assistance and support to help themselves, this moment of caring and compassion can be the difference between the ones who leave college or don’t achieve their potential versus the ones who discover themselves and their capabilities.
During my academic career, a lot of teachers and professors put “Fs” on my transcripts without any attempts to intervene. This perceived indifference caused me to almost give-up on my education and as a result potentially my future. Fortunately, I had the desire to push forward despite numerous setbacks --- even though many of the individuals who taught my classes (not educators) didn’t offer me the benefit of their time, energy, or attention.
This comes from a man who left two colleges due to academic challenges. Now, I’ve taught at one of these institutions of higher learning for the past 8 years. By the way, this is the same college I left prior to being kicked-out due to having two semesters with a 0.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
As a society (especially educators), we must care enough to teach students to be and do better. Oftentimes, this begins by teaching students within their learning zones, which doesn’t always align with a teacher’s preferred delivery method. As a result, there must be increased flexibility in the instructional methods used to identify and implement the most effective teaching strategies to reach, inspire, and develop each student.
Collectively, teachers, parents, administrators, and communities mustn’t be singularly focused on the successful completion of a course (measured by a grade at a moment in time); instead, there should be an extreme determination to ensure students are properly prepared to manage their lives and careers! Furthermore, it cannot be overstated stated that… a single positive interaction from a caring, compassionate educator can be the difference between the students who remain in school and/or excel versus the ones who unnecessarily (voluntarily or involuntarily) leave.
If you’re an educator who isn’t willing to fight for your students’ development and their futures (sometimes in spite of themselves), then you probably should identify another profession --- today!
Information about Mr. Young’s journey to overcome his educational challenges is detailed in his book “Above Expectations – My Story: an unlikely journey from almost failing high school to becoming a college professor”.
Mr. Young is the founder of the educational non-profit organization “Saving Our Communities at Risk Through Educational Services (SOCARTES – www.socartes.org). Obtain information about Mr. Young's work to give-back and inspire at-risk communities: www.slyoung.com/inspired.html