I have worked with several students in my career. Only a handful of them are actually “great” at what they do. The rest usually have it in their brains they are great when they actually haven’t really been tested in the world. I am going to try not to sound like a grumpy old man here, so bear with me.
A lot of student resumes only list basic skills and talents. By listing these, the students are actually showing nothing. I have asked students to prove their talent and skills in my experiences. Their answers are rather humorous. I hear things like, “I’m good at skills.” “I get straight A’s” “My parents tell me I have that skill.” “I have a lot of awards and trophies.” Yes, these are all real answers I’ve heard from high school students.
"I want students to show what problems they’ve encountered, saw, and overcame at each stage of their education and young lives."
Generic terms on a resume are just words. I want students to show what problems they’ve encountered, saw, and overcame at each stage of their education and young lives. This becomes a moment of truth for the students when they realize they actually haven’t accomplished anything of much value. It is a volatile learning moment for a teacher to navigate as well. Depending on how old the student is, they may feel a need to pursue something immediately, or they will collapse in a ball and be sad. The first type of student gets it. The second type of student learns a hard lesson that they need to work harder. The student who doesn’t want to face this needs to be guided by their teacher.
"Continue encouraging all your students until the last day of class ends."
How do I facilitate learning with the student who have trouble facing these truths? It’s simple. I am honest. I tell them my story. I help them see they are not alone in struggling to find ways to show accomplishments. I give them examples of things they can do in order to start telling their story and show accomplishments rather than listed generic things on their resumes. Then I use motivational strategies to help build that student’s accomplishments. This is not easy. This is not always a Disney movie ending either. There are students who do not try. There are students that no matter what you do to encourage them, show no effort. That is not a great thing for teachers to hear. It is the truth though. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying to teach them though. Continue encouraging all your students until the last day of class ends. That way you can walk away saying you did everything in your power to better that student.
The idea here is to get students to stop thinking they are great. The goal is to get student to start SHOWING how great they are.