Don’t marsh my mellow.

Today was marshmallow lab day! I have been impatiently awaiting this lab because it seems like so much fun! I had certain expectations that were mostly met, but let’s talk about the realization that I made first…

When I watch my daughter try to do something and struggle to do it, she doesn’t give up. She will keep trying over, and over, and over again. Sometimes, I try to help her and she gets mad at me. She wants to do it herself. In the classroom, I see this same kind of scenario…except that my students often quit.

So I asked myself, why is it that my one and half year old daughter does not quit yet my 12 and 13 year old students do? What happened to their confidence, their perseverance? Don’t get me wrong, some of them are stubborn and will keep trying no matter what. However, a large number will not… This is troublesome.

I expected every student to love this lab in some way — and that was not accurate. Some students became so frustrated that their marshmallow tower wasn’t staying up that they quit. Why? I had many of them say they couldn’t do it or that they were stupid. This hurt. Each of them is far from being stupid. They have unique talents and they are bright in their own ways! I tried to reassure this, but somewhere along the line of their development, this light and confidence was extinguished and it is so hard to reignite that flame.

However, towards the end of the day, I begin working with some students…helping hold their towers as they made adjustments. I tried to show them that with a little work, confidence, and GRIT that they could do anything they set their minds to. The difference that made was astonishing! The power of grit is no joke. As teachers and mentors, instilling grit is a part of our job if students don’t already have it. It will be something that I watch out for in my classroom so that I don’t marsh my students’ mellows.


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