Classroom Management Specialists shares a powerful story as a reminder that our actions as teachers leave lasting impressions on our students, so be sure to leave a positive impact!

I don’t know if this is true but I heard that in Thailand when they capture a baby elephant to train them as a work animal they chain the elephant to a wooden stake driven deep into the ground and secure the elephant to it with a chain. The baby elephant struggles to free itself of the chain but can’t. As the years pass and the elephant grows to full size it could easily pull the chain loose, but it doesn’t.

Yes, this story is used as a metaphor for self-limiting beliefs. The elephants don’t believe that they can break free of the chain, so they don’t try. They have been conditioned by their early experience.

This is why we as teachers have to be so careful. We don’t want our students to be chained to the belief that they can’t learn or they are not smart enough or they just can’t do anything for themselves. We want them to believe the opposite; that they can manage themselves, do the work, and be responsible.

It is important to approach all of your students with this belief. The fact that you believe in them will be reflected in how you react to them and they in turn will respond. Help the process along by helping them find success in little things. Use these “little victories” to spur them on to do more.  Push them, but acknowledge their progress.

In this way we prevent invisible chains from holding them back.

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