Teaching is a second career for me. In my first "real" job (not long-term substitute), my principal (the ever-wise C.J. Arellano) repeatedly used the phrase "How do we fix it?"
I will not lie: that phrase filled me with dread for months.
I'm an oldest child and an overachiever (I graduated high school when I was 16), and the suggestion that we "fix" anything baffled me. Don't we have to get it right the first time? Every time? EVERY time?
I spent two years in that position. During that time, my principal continually coached me on helping students "fix it." I saw firsthand how this mindset (growth mindset, natch) lifted the burdens of students who felt pressure to perform academically when they were not, necessarily, the most academically trained. When they were able to fix something, to accomplish something, that they thought they were not capable of accomplishing, their self-esteem and self-confidence blossomed....and so did their academic performance.
Since that time, I have tried to promote the idea of "fixing it" as often as I can in the various roles I play. Whether as a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, or a parent, I greet life with an open mindset. If I don't understand something, at first, I can revisit my learning and fix my misconceptions.
Likewise, if a student misses a point or a learning objective the first time, we can examine the ways he or she approached the assignment and work to discover a better way of understanding.
I should mention that my principal was not the first nor only educator to coach his staff in this way. I work with amazing colleagues who have the same outlook. However, as a new teacher and former perfectionist, I am not sure I would ever have found this path without his guidance.
Now that we are in the midst of a pandemic, it's even more important to examine the assumptions we make about learning. Students are feeling enormous amounts of new and strange pressure. It is the job of educators to work with our students in order to make sure that they have the permission and the freedom to falter, to make mistakes.....and then, to grow, to truly learn - to fix it.
Thanks, Mr. Arellano.