Sunday, September 14, 2014

Forget great, let's go for grit!

Principal ponderings...

We all want to be great educators.  We want to teach great lessons.  We want our kids to be great students.  We want our school to be known as a great school.  But I am thinking that what we really need to do is replace some vowels; we need to replace great with grit.  What does grit mean?  Well when you look it up in the dictionary it says "courage and resolve."  I personally like many of the synonyms that are associated with grit: determination, perseverance, endurance, tenacity, and my favorite, spunk.

Check out this video called: Teaching Grit Cultivates Resilience and Perseverance
And here is a 6 minute Ted Talk of Angela Lee Duckworth discussing the key to success...grit!
So we have the difficult task of teaching our students to be gritty.  But I think that before we can teach our students to be gritty, we need to learn how to be gritty educators ourselves.  As Angela says, this process of being gritty is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  It's not about spending three days in a row planning the ultimate unit or being a superstar teacher for one lesson on one day.  We have to be setting goals that we are going to stick with for the long run, for the month, for the trimester, for the year.  There are no get grit quick plans.  Things will not go as planned.  Lessons may not work like we envisioned.  But if we are going to be successful as educators, we need to stick with it.  We need to persevere in order to teach our students perseverance.  Go ahead...set some gritty goals for yourself.  How will you show tenacity?  Remember, it might mean that you need to be ok with something not working the way you planned.  It might mean that you need to scrap your original plan and try something different.  It might mean stepping out of your comfort zone.  Because becoming a gritty educator means being unsuccessful this week knowing that in the long run you will be successful.  

Here's a quick interview with the author Kate DiCamillo where she talks about how she learned to persevere:

Ask this the thing that I am supposed to do?  If teaching is what you are supposed to do, then you cannot give up.  Don't worry about being great this week; go be gritty this week.

Currently reading:
I finished reading Bigger Than a Bread Box this weekend.  I think it might be a book that some of our 4th graders would enjoy reading.  Even though the main character is 12 years old, what she experiences as her parents go through a separation is something that several kids can relate to.  I started reading on of the new MCBA books, The Friendship Matchmaker.  So far it's a quick read and a good lesson on making friends by just being yourself.
I have also been reading more of Primal Leadership.  A quote that stuck with me from the chapter I just read: "...institutions that endure thrive not because of one leader's charisma, but because they cultivate leadership throughout the system."  I did some more reading of Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  I had read some if it last year, but realized I needed to pick it back up and finish it.

Events this week:
Tuesday - Announced fire drill @ 10:15
Wednesday - 4th grade instrument demo in the PAC @ 10:00, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - Bus driver training in the cafeteria @ 9:15, Elementary only half day, 1:15-3:30

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Ms. Hoke's class talked about choosing 'just right' books.

  • A second grader enjoying some quality, comfy independent reading time!
  • Curriculum Night was a huge success!  Teachers did a great job educating parents about what curriculum looks like at each grade level.
  • 1st graders in Mrs. Wilkin's class playing plus or minus 1 Bingo!
  • Family Fun Night was tons of fun!!
Check it out:
Read this short post about keeping the kindergarten spirit:
A great post about looking for the small wins in the beginning of the school year:

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