Teaching Perseverance to Students

In today's fast paced world, students are used to everything being quick and easy. Use these tips for teaching perseverance to students who prefer to give up easily..

Have you noticed that kids give up too easily these days? Yeah, me too. It seems like teaching perseverance should now be a part of the curriculum. In this fast paced world we live in, everything comes quick and easy. Modern day technology has robbed our students of the understanding that some things just take time and effort. They want it done fast. They need immediate results, and when those results don’t come quickly, many of our students throw in the towel, which is why teaching perseverance should be in the lesson plan.

Lack of perseverance becomes extremely apparent in school when we ask our students to do challenging things.This is impossible. I don’t get it! It’s too hard. I’m not doing this. I can’t.” If you’ve stepped foot inside a classroom in the last decade, you’ve heard these things and have likely noticed that it’s getting worse. As technology improves, perseverance declines. The modern conveniences that make life easier are in many ways making our job as teacher more difficult. Our students want everything to come easy. They are not programmed to persevere.

Here’s the good news. It’s possible to reverse that “give up easily” mindset. I have been able to successfully transform students in just one school year. Use these tips to transform your students, too! With some patience and consistency, they might actually begin to enjoy difficult tasks.

Here’s how I teach my students to persevere.

In today's fast paced world, students are used to everything being quick and easy. Use these tips for teaching perseverance so that students will persevere through challenging tasks.


1. Exposure {in small doses}

I put this one first because I believe it is the key to perseverant students. If we want our kids to think hard about hard things, we need to give them hard things to think about every single day. By hard, I don’t mean boring. Actually, I mean challenging and fun. That’s why I use brainteaser puzzles with my students every single day. Start small and be consistent. It’s just like exercise. One, 5-minute brainteaser per day {at first} is the perfect dose for teaching perseverance. Kids need to build endurance over time. Keep feeding them the vegetables and they will eventually thrive.

2. Attitude

This is huge. Keep it playful and positive. Make it like a game. I tell my students, with a great big cheerful smile, that we will do hard things. If it feels hard, that’s an indication that their brain is growing! Model perseverance. Fail in front of them and show them that YOU have grit. Make perseverance a trait to be admired.

3. Patience

Don’t expect immediate results. Those first days may be rough. Kids will not persevere just because you told them to. Remember, they are used to fast and easy solutions. Your students will need many repeated {and positive} experiences with challenging situations before perseverance becomes a reflex.

4. Acceptance

All students have different capabilities and strengths. Always keep in mind that what may seem easy to one is not easy for all, and vice versa. The brain is an interesting and complex organ. You may see the solution to a challenge more quickly. Be careful not to inadvertently make your students feel inferior when they don’t arrive at an immediate solution. The whole point is for them to stick with it for a long time, even when it feels hard. Let them work at it. Guide them without telling them the answers, but accept the fact that some may need more support than others.

5. Celebrations

Celebrate every success and encourage every step in the right direction. That doesn’t mean you have to give stickers and prizes {but hey, whatever works}! Some genuine & caring verbal praise will go a very long way. The “genuine” part is important. Kids know when you mean it, and they will move mountains to feel admired. When your students persevere and succeed, celebrate.

When students are given opportunities to persevere through exposure to daily brainteaser puzzles, they will eventually transfer that ability to longer, even more challenging tasks. Don’t let anyone tell you that brainteaser puzzles are a waste of instructional time. Teaching kids how to think should be the beating heart of any curriculum. If you want your students to think hard and persevere with challenging problems in the core subject areas, try a daily brainteaser puzzle, combined with the above tips and see the results for yourself.

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