Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's Not About Your Dream, It's About Your Grit

It’s Not About Your Dream, It’s About Your Grit

What do you dream to be? This is a question that I have asked my children and students countless times. It’s a good question, right? I think it is. However, in my reflection I realize that asking that question in isolation does not best serve our students. In order to better serve our students we should start asking, “What is your grit like?” Grit, as defined by Angela Duckworth, is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

If we really want every student reaching their dream, we need to find out about their grit. Anyone can share their dream with you, but what if we start asking this follow up question with our students and even our own children? “You have a great dream, now how are you going to get there?”  Let’s not sugarcoat this. Reaching your dream is hard work. There will be many obstacles along the way.

When I work with sports teams, I explain to them that there are three things that can hinder their success:  fear of failure, fear of criticism, and fear of hard work.
Gritty people embrace the challenge, accept feedback, and continually work very hard. Harvey Mackay said, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful
people do those things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” I feel that fear of criticism is the biggest obstacle for most adults and students. We are a society that loves to fling feedback, but are usually resistant to receive it. We need to teach our youth to have a growth mindset. Feedback should be for growing, not for groaning. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are times that the feedback is upsetting, but if we don’t reflect on what’s being said, true change can never occur. Without change a dream never becomes reality. If we are to provide our students with the tools to reach their dreams, we need to start teaching them to find their grit.

So, the next time you are speaking with someone about their dreams, don’t forget to ask them about their GRIT!!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Human Core vs. Common Core II

 

The Monday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I was presenting to a group of teachers in Garfield, NJ. I was presenting on classroom leadership and shared a story about a former student who had severe emotional issues. I explained that when I needed to suspend the student for some inappropriate behavior, I would always say, “When you return, we will still love you.” This statement rubbed one audience member (maybe more) the wrong way. I tried to explain that as much as I never condoned her behavior, that I felt it important that the child knew there was a place where people truly cared about her – especially since there was a strong possibility that my student didn’t feelunconditional love anywhere else. The audience member’s facial response was priceless. The presentation continued, but her response made me think of an old blog post I wrote titled, Human Core vs. Common Core.

 

At times, this profession can get very myopic as we (myself included) seek to invest our time in the Common CoreIf as educators, regardless of title, we invested in the human core the way we do everything else, imagine the extent of the possibilities. I am privileged and honored to work with teachers and staff who invest in the Human Core at Monmouth Regional. Here are just a few examples of that investment:

 

• So many teachers arrive to school earlier than contractually required to provide extra help
• An abundance of teachers stay later than required to provide extra help
• Volunteers run clubs because their students were passionate about creating a club
• Volunteers assist with sports teams to help athletes and their colleagues
• Countless teachers attend evening events on their own time because they know what it means to their students

 

I have stated publicly many times that a major reason I came to MRHS was that I saw first-hand the level of investment in the Human Core. Now, I get to see it every day. Every day I get to see how our staff and teachers: 

 

• make kids who have never felt special feel special
• make kids feel worthy when they themselves and others made them feel worthless
• 
make kids work hard while they’re not even aware of how hard they’re working
• make kids laugh at times when they need it the most
• make kids smile on their worst days
• love their students unconditionally

 

Nobody inside MRHS is discounting the importance of the curricula and our job of creating critical thinkers who will be ready for an ever-changing world. However, in the words of the late Rita Pierson, MRHS understands that, Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” This is why every day is a great day to be a Falcon!!

 

Cory Radisch

Proud Principal