Letting Your Kids Fail Forward: A Surprising Exchange with a Student’s Mother

I received this somewhat shocking email a while back. A mother contacted me to let me know that, after I offered academic and social safety nets in my college class to her son, “allowing” him to fail was one of the best things that could have happened to him as he transitioned from high school to college.

It contains a powerful message.  This student’s mother who emailed me (possibly unknowingly) has inspired me to care even more for my students by keeping my expectations of students high.  I’ve held on to it privately, but thought it might also inspire others in the field.

This emails along with countless parent teacher conferences, phone calls, and communiques have solidified my view that students should always opt to take “tough” classes in HS and elsewhere.  The alternative, waiting for college to challenge themselves, holds fewer advantages for the kids.

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