“Mrs. Dixon, someone needs your help in the boys bathroom,” a student informed me as he walked into my classroom.
I quickly walked to the bathroom area, knocked on the door to the boys bathroom, and called in though the cracked door, “It’s Mrs. Dixon, can I come in?”
I was answered with a muffled okay, but as I pushed through the door and entered, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw… a boy in a sobbing ball on the floor with his “practice program” folder papers strewn across the tiled floor.
Gathering the papers and coaxing him up, I guided the distraught boy down the hall to my classroom’s calm down area (a comfy spot in the back with a basket of fidget toys). I texted his next teacher to let her know he needed a few minutes to compose himself.
Later, once he was able to articulate what was wrong, I found out he had received the dreaded “frowny face” in his practice folder. His smiley face day was marred with an upside down smile.
Helping this student through not being perfect became part of my role as teacher. I am ever reminded that I am not just in charge of guiding my students through learning the content I teach, but I play an important role in helping students develop a growth mindset. Helping my students view a frowny face as an upside down smile gives them a powerful tool. Corrective feedback doesn’t just focus on successes. It also addresses areas of growth. Helping my students understand and use feedback as a tool to improve is as important as the content I teach.
After all… a frowny face is just and upside down smile.