Goal 10: Plant a Seed of Belief #30Goals

Goal 10 of The 30 Goals Challenge 2011


Short-term– Brainstorm how you can show the students in your school who have no belief in themselves that you believe in them. Brainstorm how you can show the students in your classes your belief in them.

Long-term– Implement this idea by the end of next week.


“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

~ Matthew 17:20

**Important Announcements

  • Please note that we will cover 5 goals a week (Monday through Friday). I’m on CET so it might be a different time zone!
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  • Please fill out this Google Form if you reflected on at least 1 goal this week so your name will be entered into a raffle to win an autographed copy of the book! Also, you will be listed in a 30 Goals blog list and on a 30 Goals Twitter list.


Come up with a plan to show your belief in your students and especially those who don’t seem to have people who believe in them.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the 43 Things web/mobile app, or adding a comment below! Feel free to subscribe to The 30 Goals podcast!

Keep an eye out for the book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators, that will be published by Eye on Education in the Fall of 2011!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. What an important investment! My students are so much more willing to try and fail when they know I believe in them. Learning is so much deeper when we trust each other enough to make mistakes and multiple messy attempts. Without mistakes we are not learning, we are just practicing what we already know. I know I believe in them, I am really working to make sure they know that I believe in them and telling them is not enough. How do your students know that you believe in them? What does it look like in the classroom?

  2. Great Blog! Many teachers lose faith because they don’t know how to reach their students or they lack the flexibility to do so. We also need to keep in mind that students are like flowers, and they will bloom when it’s their season. Just because you plant seeds at the same time, it would be ridiculous to expect them to blossom at the same moment. Plant the seed of faith in every student. You will have the pleasure to see some blossom, and others, you will never see blossom. However, they will NEVER EVER forget the planter.
    “When I was a child, I spoke as a child; I reasoned as a child, I thought as a child”
    1 Corinthians 13:11

  3. […] Giving writing feedback Do any of these statements sound familiar?  When you receive written work from your students, you end up concentrating only on mechanical, structural or stylistic errors.  You have a legend of marking codes that tell your students the kind of error they’ve made in a vague way so that they can go back and try it again.  But how do our students feel when they receive back their written work with only these vague indicators of error?  Certainly for those that have a strong sense of their abilities the few red scratches could be motivators to improve for next time, but for those students who already believe they aren’t very strong, I’m realising it could potentially be quite crushing.  This is why I’ve taken a new, more engaged approach and it leads me to Shelly’s Goal #10: Plant a seed of belief. […]

  4. Back in September I shared a story with my staff; I spoke of the mustard seed and its microscopic size. I also spoke of how the mustard seed, small in size, when planted, grows to become a large tree. I also explained that if we each had the faith/belief the size of a mustard seed we had the ability to move mountains.

    During that meeting, I gave everyone a mustard seed and asked that each of you hold the seed in your hand. I wanted each of you to realize that this seed, so small, could easily be lost in the palm of your hand. I then asked each of you during rough times this year to think back to this seed and the power it represents. I told you to hold fast to it and to think of its mighty strength when you are in the depths of doubt about your abilities or the chances of you finding your way through tough times.

    I still have the remainder of the mustard seeds in my office and I often give them to students and sometimes parents during meetings. I explain the significance of the seeds and how our ability to believe in ourselves is crucial to any chance of positive development. Now I want each of you to think back to your mustard seed. Do you still have it? Do you think of it when you are going through tough times? Have you planted any seeds?

    Our students, like ourselves are often in great need of seeds. We all have our doubts and are often discouraged by academic failure, poor support systems, lack of confidence, and other challenges dealt to us during life. Through the eyes of our students these challenges may appear to be insurmountable, but with our support and guidance, they are able to reach levels of achievement they could never before imagine.

    I challenge each of your to be the beam and not the barrier. Be the beam that helps to support and nurture our students. Find those in greatest need and believe in them; don’t just say you believe, but demonstrate your belief with your words and your actions. Don’t use your words to tear them down, instead use your words to raise their consciousness to heights greater than they could ever dream.

    If you plant such seeds you will see growth. They will grow and prosper and they may one day share their story with you. We sometimes underestimate the impact our words have on the lives of young people. Our words are symbolic to seeds, we must plant them wisely in those barren places in desperate need of a full harvest.

    If you still have your seeds, I urge you to take them out and place them in your hands once more. Think of those who may need the nurturing words of encouragement to help them get through a rough patch. Once you identify these students, begin to plant the seeds of celebration and encouragement for the future.

    Have a Productive Week!

  5. I really love this post Shelly! I was supposed to work with that same student today, but he was absent. Instead, I was able to work with another young man. He was such a blessing to me today and I hope that I get to work with him again soon.

  6. Great post Shelly! I am saddened to hear that anyone would say that some students are unreachable. From years of teaching I have seen that the kids who appear to be the most unreachable just need someone to encourage them. With the smallest of encouragement and support they flourish. Thank you for continuing to inspire educators across the globe and remind us all that we should plant the seed of belief in every child we meet.

  7. Thanks for another interesting goal. As educators, I know we all have our own stories about how showing belief in a student turns their life around. When you’ve seen it happen before — as I have and many others have as well — it engenders the faith it can happen again. Thanks for bringing up this challenging yet fulfilling goal.

  8. This may be my favorite goal. So many students come to us already beaten down and convinced that they are worthless. As an educator, one of the best things we can do for students is show them that they are worthy, and that we believe in them.

  9. There is a new place to share your ideas, thoughts and funny teaching stories with other Teachers Anonymously. Check it out today AnonymousApple.com

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