Mothers are our first teachers, the best teachers. They are warriors, fighting to protect their children. And the greatest teacher of all is life itself – I’ve learned so much since becoming a mother and can only hope to continue to grow in sagely wisdom.
As a mother of two young children, I truly believe that everything a mother teaches leaves a permanent impression in the heart and mind of her child. The influence that she has over her child is incomparable.
I’m living the dream. It’s beautiful that I have chosen this amazing career as a teacher where I am able to not only impart knowledge but also nurture my students to become valuable members of society. I’ve always believed that a teacher can shape the way the children grow, beyond the subjects they teach. For some of us, one of the most influential and life-changing role models are our teachers.
It’s truly a blessing being both a mother and a teacher – I can appreciate the best of both worlds. I see a little of my own children in every single child under my care. Teachers play the role of second parents to the pupils. Being a parent has allowed me to transcend the divide and gain a fuller perspective on how to raise a child.
So this is something I have learned as a mother and a teacher, and I truly am adamant about it: Let your children make mistakes. Let them fail, if they need to.
I know, it’s difficult. Trust me, it goes against every instinct in my own body to allow my children to make their own mistakes. As parents, we want to protect our children from failure and shield them from emotional distress. It’s hard to look into those tear-stained, red-rimmed eyes and not want to take all the pain away.
However, I have learned as a teacher that the best way for students to learn is to learn from their own mistakes. At home, I try to encourage my own children to be courageous enough to explore on their own – I tell them it is fine if they make mistakes. And in the classroom, I do the same to my students as well. This is how I see it: the classroom is a sacred, safe space, where children are free to make mistakes. There are no judgments. There are no harsh words of criticism.
I also believe that allowing children to make mistakes helps to build their creativity. In my classroom, I sometimes encounter students who are terrified of making mistakes. When asked to write compositions, they are lost, frightened of doing anything that deviates from the short stories that we provide.
As teachers, we have to struggle to get these students to open up, and not be afraid of failure. If they are afraid to make mistakes, even in this sacred safe space, how will they fare in the wider world, where we parents can no longer protect them?
Children can sometimes be too self-conscious, frightened to try something new or do something different. As a teacher, I want to undo all this fear. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fall down – just pick yourself up and grow, better, stronger and more worldly-wise.
Parents, let your children make their mistakes. If you send your children for enrichment, don’t correct their work before they submit – your child’s teacher won’t be able to tell what level your child is at. More importantly, your child won’t learn from their own failures, limiting their personal growth. In this classroom, the most sacred of safe spaces, there’s room to fail and flourish.