When I was a child in elementary school I had very good teachers of spelling and grammar, but not mathematics.
In middle school, the math teacher had a complicated pregnancy and because of that was often missing, and so many of the class hours were spent playing basketball.
I did not feel competent in math and thought that I would never find a career.
I was fortunate to find a teacher of Spanish origin, the engineer Ramayo, who believed in me and told me something no one had ever told me, that I was very competent in mathematics and could achieve what I aimed for in life.
Thanks to his motivation, I studied engineering and excelled in my studies, completed two master’s degrees, directed research groups in the oil industry and have run my own companies, I have generated several patents in the energy sector, I have been a university professor for more than 20 years, and now I have been a teacher in secondary education for eleven years.
In my teaching experience, I have realized the importance of believing in students, and the relevance of making them see that they can achieve everything they set out to do.
In psychology, this phenomenon has been studied (the experiment of Rosenthal and Jacobson in 1966 is well known) and is known as the Pygmalion effect, or of self-fulfilling prophecy.
If parents and teachers have confidence in the child and they convince him that he can succeed in life and emphasize what he can achieve; the child will excel and succeed. But if on the contrary, they only emphasize their shortcomings and defects, by word or deed, they make them feel that they will fail, the child will not work, he will not be careful, and his school performance will be mediocre or badly plan.
There is a Henry Ford thought that sums up this: “So whether you believe you can or if you think you can not, in both cases you are right.”
It is something that I live on a daily basis. Students who are stars with me, who stand out a lot in my class, who obtain the highest degrees of academic excellence, are the same students who in previous years, had serious academic problems and even failed in mathematics, which is the subject that I teach. I mention a frequent case, students who failed the state test (STAAR) in the previous year, are often the commended performance, which all the teachers of the following year want to have.
Sometimes I talk to other teachers who teach the same students, and they say: “I do not tolerate so-and-so, very apathetic and disinterested, and their work is rather mediocre.” It is hard for them to believe, when I tell them, that in my subject they are bright and participative students, who stand out among their classmates and who are sure to succeed in whatever they propose.
The future is not casual but causal. We build it with our daily work, with determination and perseverance in achieving our goals. The difference between success or failure is in the decisions and actions you take daily, as well as the perseverance you apply to achieve your goals. Leave your comfort zone, and dare to succeed. Remember: If you keep doing the same actions, you will still get the same results. If you want to get different results, you will have to start by performing different actions.
Einstein put it this way: “the definition of stupidity is to do the same actions and expect different results“. Using another analogy, it would be like planting apple seeds and waiting to harvest oranges, sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?