On the day after the presidential election, third grade teacher Jasmyn Wright issued a simple but powerful message to her class: “push through.”
Wright, who works at a Frederick Douglass Elementary in Philadelphia, posted a video of a call-and-response exercise she does with her students. The exercise encourages her students to “push through” any adversity and remember they are capable of accomplishing amazing things.
“What if it’s too hard?” the teacher asks her students.
“I’m gonna push through!” they respond.
“What if it’s too tough?” Wright asks.
“I’m gonna push through!” they answer.
“What if you’re just too dumb?” she asks.
“That ain’t true!” they exclaim.
“What if you’re just too young?” the teacher asks.
“That ain’t true!” the students answer.
“What if you just can’t do it?”
“That ain’t true!”
“Why, because ...”
“I can do anything I put my mind to!”
Wright’s video has received over three million views on Facebook.
“Teaching my 3rd grade black and brown babies to #PushThrough today,” she wrote in the video caption. “Due to unwelcoming, unsettling, and uncomfortable election results, this was our lesson for the day.”
Wright told The Huffington Post that “push through” is meant to be a reminder that no matter what obstacles you face in life, you have to keep going.
“’Push through’ means that you can conquer and get through any adversity that life introduces you to,” she explained. “Some things in life are inevitable, and you can’t control them. However, you have control over your response and reaction to those situations. Anybody, any religion, any race, any age, any disability, any obstacle, can PUSH THROUGH. We are limitless.”
The teacher said the “push through” mantra has been a daily exercise to start each school day for about a month. “Third grade can be really challenging. They are presented with lengthy texts, have to engage in critical thinking activities, and are going to be asked to do assignments that they may or may not feel like doing,” Wright said, adding that her students are also dealing with many distractions.
“They are still learning how to deal with difficult conversations with each other. At home, there may be financial barriers or physical barriers in their settings. Therefore, the goal of our daily ‘push through’ lesson is to teach them to remain positive and resilient, despite the challenges they face. It’s used as reinforcement.”
Wright told HuffPost her students love the daily “push through” exercise and get excited to do it every morning. When she told her students she’d let one of them lead the call-and-response one day, “huge smiles” filled their faces.
“My students have actually internalized this message, and take it with them outside of the classroom,” she explained, noting that she’s heard them tell each other to “push through” during recess, at lunch and in collaborative learning settings.
“During class, one student said to me, ‘Ms. Wright, I can’t do this! This is too hard!’ Another student responded to him from across the room, ‘That ain’t true!’ They are using the words to encourage each other, and I find that very powerful!” she said. “Another student shared with me at the end of the day today that she feels inspired by the mantra, and she’s going to use it every day of her life to help her face challenges.”
Wright said she wants everyone who sees her video to know that they too can “push through” and achieve their goals.
“Sometimes, we have to verbally encourage ourselves. I want them to see that there is no age limit to pushing through.”
Words to live by.