What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to keep going, even when things feel difficult or impossible. People with high levels of resilience are able to change and adapt as needed. They accept when things go wrong, and focus on how to resolve the issue and move forward. We often discuss resilience as if it is an innate quality that we are born with, but in fact it is a skill that can be learnt and developed like any other.
Why do we need it?
The past year has tested everyone’s levels of resilience like no other! So many of us have had to regroup and rethink our strategies, and adapt to big changes such as online learning. Being resilient is such an important life skill, and it is through resilience that we really learn and develop. Students need to make sure that they have this skill, as there will inevitably be times when their studies are hard and they will feel like giving up. Often, it is when we feel like giving up that we are actually closer than we think to a breakthrough, and students need to know that they are strong enough to succeed.
My own resilience story
Resilience is a skill that has served me well throughout my adult life, and one I have definitely needed to cultivate. After I graduated from university, my plan was to complete a PhD and become an academic. I was successful in securing a PhD place but unsuccessful in securing the funding that I needed in order to take up the space. It was my first real experience of needing to adapt and discover another way forward. Following a period of uncertainty, I discovered my passion for educating others, and then decided to train as a teacher. After completing my teacher training and qualifying, I was able to take up a good post in a school.
However, after the birth of my two children, I found my resilience being tested once again. I fell seriously ill with postnatal depression and was unable to return to my post in the classroom. I decided to purchase a phonics franchise, but this venture was unsuccessful. Rather than giving up, I decided to set up my own English tuition business. Bright Sky Tutoring was born, and has gone from strength to strength. Resilience has definitely served me well over the years.
How do you cultivate resilience in your child?
In order to help your child develop their resilience, share your own stories with him/her. Or look up stories of their role models, who may have had to overcome adversity on their way to success. Help him/her to see setbacks as exactly that, temporary stumbling blocks on their way to eventual success. Working on a growth mindset can also support your child with this, as they will learn to see that perceived failures and mistakes are a key part of the learning process. Setting clear goals can also help us to develop resilience, as if we know where we want to go, we will feel inspired to keep trying, no matter what the cost. Extra-curricular activities can be another way to develop resilience, as they will encourage your child to adapt to different social situations and learn how to cope in new places.
Being resilient does mean always having to be happy and never feeling down. When my students are feeling disappointed by a test result, I normally encourage them to go home, eat chocolate, watch trashy television and go to bed early. The only caveat is that the next day they have to get up early, ready to refocus and discuss a new plan of action. It is absolutely fine to sometimes give into a low mood, but important not to let it win.
What to watch out for?
It is important not to confuse a lack of resilience with conditions such as depression. If your child is showing long term signs of low mood, then it is really important to seek medical help.
Another thing to bear in mind is that there are times where it is necessary to let go. If I had not made the decision to give up my phonics franchise, then I would not have been free to start Bright Sky Tutoring, and I would still be struggling to make a failing franchise work. Sometimes we do need to think about what is in our best interests, and accept that the path we thought would make us happy is no longer to be.
Looking for English support for your child? Bright Sky Tutoring offers one-to-one and small group English tuition for KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5. To find out more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.