If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Having the courage a strength to carry on when a job, task or concept is difficult to approach, tackle, understand or complete often requires perseverance.
It is perhaps the learners I admire the most who will use immense amounts of staying power to keep trying to learn something until it eventually sticks and mastery is attained.
I think of one child, let’s call her Poppy for argument’s sake. She started secondary school with below average KS2 SATs results and so was set, after the initial seven weeks of fighting to prove her of higher ability, with children who had similar entry levels, on paper. Despite this, she carried on and fought every year to be moved up a set, to, in her words, escape those who keep disturbing her lessons.
She wasn’t moved up, but what she did so is smash the expectation and achieve several grade 6s in her GCSE exams. Perseverance, of, she had a lot.
To add to this, Poppy had a lot of self-belief and self-esteem that kept her going. Although I cite no research to support my ideas, I hypothesise that perseverance is easier when you have persistent confidence and a ‘can-do, will-do’, attitude. She also had a family who helped and supported her.
So, perseverance could be easier with company.
Perhaps we could apply this to teaching too. Having the staying power to be positive and persevere, especially when the going gets tough and deep, dark November is calling you from beneath the duvet, is paramount.
Like with Poppy, working with a team and not going it alone can also support in a persistent, yet positive and purposeful perseverance. Occasionally, it might be that however you persevere, your ideas and gait are unappreciated. And so, it is time to change course and persevere elsewhere.
When we are alone and it can often be solitary as a teacher, having a stubborn belief that your perseverance is not in vain serves as a buoyancy aid when floating is hard. It also reminds us that results are not achieved overnight and there is a journey to traverse. Persevere through whatever terrain, accept that there may be patches that are more tricky than others, a break may be required, or a change in path, yet keep the path in mind and don’t give up.
Perseverance: how would we appreciate the easy without the difficult? The highs without the lows? Negotiate and regulate the emotions and persevere, go on, dip your toes…