How do we foster perseverance in our students? A growing body of research suggests that that there is a clear correlation between the student/teacher relationship and student success in school. Students persevere for those who believe in them and support them. For this reason, teachers are encouraged to take steps to foster connections with their students. A positive, active classroom has students who engage longer, engage more deeply, and learn more. Work should be meaningful to students. Learning targets (goals) should be clearly presented. Students who know the goal of their learning will engage longer when a task is challenging.

On Thursday, November 17th, students in Tracy’s 3rd grade class, scaled the climbing walls at the Übergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag in Stapleton. Some students were initially overwhelmed when they see how steep and how tall the climbing walls stretch before them. We teach them to climb together because we know that relationship is key to success. There is always at least one student who is hesitant to try, ready to give up or becomes frustrated. On this trip, their teachers coach them through the challenge. They never climb alone.

As they climb, we give them feedback. “You’re over halfway there.” “Only a little while more.” When they feel they can’t go any higher, we tell them to look behind them and see how high they have soared.
They look ahead at their goal, and we tell them they won’t regret the climb once they see the view. This journey becomes a metaphor for our school year. When the task is hard, we remind them that they conquered a climbing wall; they persevered, and together we continue to climb higher throughout the year.