The DO-OVER : An Educational Necessity

Do-Overs — Every September!

It’s what makes education so much fun.

If something didn’t quite work out this school year there’s always next year.  Our profession is kind of unique that way.  I’ve always liked the fact that we get to press ‘reset’.  As teachers, administrators and support staff we get do-overs all the time.

We also have an education system that supports repeat opportunities for students.  I’d like to take a close look at WHY we should remember to have that mindset of providing do-overs for our students.

Believing in children (2)School is a safe place —  as educators we take enormous pride in creating spaces that are emotionally safe for everyone regardless of their story or history.  For some of our students the stark reality is that we may be the ONLY place in their world where they feel the most connected to an adult.  A place where some may form their only trusting, compassionate relationships with a caring adult.

The other reality for some of our students is that when they come to school on some days they are just not ready to learn.  For whatever reason, their world is upside down.  Schools need to be that sanctuary for them — where it’s OK to make a mistake.  We accept them because we can.

child anger

Anger Can Appear to Us as Misplaced, but to a Child it’s How They’ve Learned to Cope

Because they are still learning how to cope with life’s challenges our students sometimes express themselves in ways that aren’t always in-line with what we expect in our schools.  They can sometimes behave in ways that seem counterproductive to their success.  They may:

  • be late to our classrooms;
  • act out on the playground;
  • crawl into an emotional shell at their desk; or
  • lash out at the ones trying to help them.

Love them anyway

Do we welcome them EVERY time they arrive?  As they arrive late for the ‘umpteenth’ time to our classroom door?  Do we show them EVERY time that they matter?


Welcoming Them Every Time

Giving them that chance at a ‘do-over’ may be just what they need that day.  Maybe they won’t take advantage of it today, maybe not even tomorrow.  But, one day they might be ready.  Will we be there to help them open the door to their success? The more consistently that we show them an emotionally safe place, tell them that we believe in them and provide them a pathway to better success, the more likely it is that they will choose that path.

As educators we have as our foundation the belief in every child.  We need to ensure that they see that belief — and not just when it’s convenient but every day, every interaction, every time.  When they’re not quite ready to learn one day.  When they show up late.  When they’ve forgotten their homework … again.  When that poor decision or choice is getting in the way of their success.

Love them anyway

All Students Want to Succeed.  Do We Always Keep the Door to Success Open?

We often won’t know the whole story about their lives — their reality, their struggles or their pain.

Love them anyway

Schools are the Pathway that Helps Students see past the ‘Tyranny of the Immediate’ to a Better Place down the Road. 

Just as we get a ‘do-over’ in our professional lives every year, our students also need that same chance — every day.  It doesn’t mean that the do-over needs to look exactly the same as they have in the past but they do need to provide a possible pathway to success.

Regardless of our students’ actions we keep the ‘doors to success’ open.  As difficult as that might be on some of those most challenging days we never know when they might need it the most.




3 thoughts on “The DO-OVER : An Educational Necessity

  1. The Paradoxical Commandments
    by Dr. Kent M. Keith
    People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.

    If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.

    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.

    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.

    The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
    Think big anyway.

    People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.

    People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.

    Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.

    © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s