As the school doors swing open to welcome the start of another year, both teachers and students will have goals: to inspire a class, to learn new things, to get good grades.
What probably won’t be on that list is to make a mistake — in fact many. But it should be.
Why? Because we’re raising a generation of children — primarily in affluent, high-achieving districts — who are terrified of blundering. Of failing. Of even sitting with the discomfort of not knowing something for a few minutes.
If students are afraid of mistakes, then they’re afraid of trying something new, of being creative, of thinking in a different way. They’re scared to raise their hands when they don’t know the answer and their response to a difficult problem is to ask the teacher rather than try different solutions that might, gasp, be wrong.
They’re as one teacher told me, “victims of excellence.”