The Power of Yet


I was a young teacher in the eighties. In search of units and direction I fumbled upon Marilyn Burns’ Math Solutions course. Fantastic course. One of the speakers, Ruth Cossey, gave a talk that changed my mindset. It was about a adding a simple word to our mathematical vocabulary. Yet.

I promptly posted it by my clock. It is the one thing that has been common to the 10 classrooms I have used in teaching the last 30 years.


Why yet? It is really about a growth mindset and developing that growth mindset in my students. It takes more than posting a word by a clock. First I needed to develop a growth mindset in myself. Second, I learned I needed to devote time to nurture a growth mindset in students. We start with yet the first day.

There is such a difference in these two phrases.

“I don’t get it.”

“I don’t get it yet”

Say them out loud. You can’t say the first with a growth mindset tone. You can’t say the second without it. Students need to use it. I need to model it. One word makes a huge difference.

I am not sure how I often I will blog. This is not my learned way of communicating. Once I decided to give it a shot there could only be one topic of the first blog post. Yet.

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