The Teacher Said “No!”

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This post tells the story of a young man whom I will call Zack and an experience he had when he was a senior in high school. This experience teaches us the importance of controlling our ego, appreciating the effort, and being grateful for the part we played in the success of another person.

Zack was an exceptional student in math, science, and computers. Unfortunately, during his senior year he suffered a bout of mononucleosis and missed 8 weeks of the first semester. At the time he got sick he was the top student in his A++ computer certification class. He was sleeping 18–20 hours each day and had no energy to do homework.

The certification test was to be taken at the end of the first semester. Zack asked his teacher if he could take the test and was told, “No! You have missed to much school and couldn’t possibly pass it.” Zack was persistent and eventually talked his teacher into letting him take it. When the test results came back, Zack was the only student who passed the test and received his certification.

Rather than being excited for Zack the teacher let himself get embarrassed. The obvious question is why would this teacher be embarrassed rather than happy and excited for Zack? The reason is the misperception the teacher had of the situation.

Instead of focusing on the accomplishment of an exceptional student and what he did the teacher thought Zack showed him up as being a poor teacher, after all only one of twenty students passed the test and that student missed most of the semester.

This short story illustrates the potential effect we can have on each other and the importance of supporting and encouraging and buoying one another up when challenges arise. Doing so will help our children become more resilient and capable as they move through life.


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