As a teacher, I’m torn as to whether or not I believe in talent. I mean, maybe there’s such a thing; every so often, I run across a student for whom everything clicks even faster than I hope it will if they buy into my (obviously masterfully-constructed) lesson plans. Maybe that’s an indicator that talent does exist. But maybe it’s just a coincidence and a crapshoot.
On the other hand, I have all kinds of clear, tangible proof that simple perseverance furthers. So the real trick is to sell a student on the concept of perseverance, at the same time as you’re providing a framework in which to persevere — because persevering doesn’t stay simple.
I’ve seen those for whom it clicked easily never persevere, and never excel; and I’ve seen those for whom it was a struggle apply diligence and elbow grease and far surpass any expectation they had for themselves. Either of these results, and everything in between, can be a win for the student depending on their desires. For the teacher, I think, the biggest win is often in seeing that a-ha moment in which the student achieves what they didn’t know they could, or didn’t even know was there to aspire to. Or maybe it’s simply in seeing students strive. Because yes: as a teacher, you always see what could be, and you want that option to be there for all your students. Even the ones who may not see it themselves. Maybe especially them.