The weeks leading up to school my feelings included excitement, anxiety, curiosity, fear, commitment, confusion, ambition, dedication, and loyalty to my kiddos. I had no idea what to expect. There is so much pressure on the first day of school. I was told over and over last year that the first day sets the tone for your entire semester. I was also told to be a million different things and none of those things were myself. Getting to the point where I realized my job sucked because I wasn't being myself is a different story. I decided to actually take the best advice I received last year from my favorite teacher in high school and just be myself. As a teacher you often "fake it till you make it," which is great, as long as you're not faking your personality. They see right through it.
Anyway, I'm proud to say, 1 day down and 179 to go of my second year teaching! After a whole lot of reflecting this summer and thinking about last year there is one critical thing that I realized my students were missing. Many of them didn't believe in themselves and their ability to do well. After researching motivation and interviewing students I realized that I truly believe anyone can succeed. For some people success comes a little easier than others. Those people are lucky enough to taste the sweet joy of success frequently. But what about those who have to work a little bit harder to succeed? For them it is even sweeter. I want my students to taste success everyday and focus on their growth and how far they've come rather than striving to be a master.
Prepare yourself for a cheesy analogy (why is it that exercise analogies seem to apply to everything?) I in no way, shape, or form am a runner. I absolutely hate it. Let's call running a marathon "mastery." I would love more than anything to master running. If I put on my running shoes with the intent of running 26.2 miles I will become easily discouraged and quickly give up. Let's be honest, if I even tried doing a half marathon I would still become easily discouraged. Tonight I ran two whole miles without dying (please wait while I brush some dirt off my shoulder.) That was a huge accomplishment for me after barely being able to run half a mile not too long ago.
As Malcolm Gladwell says in my new favorite book, "success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard." In other words, success is grit. When my students walk out of my class at the end of this semester, they will walk out saying, "I have grit." It is my goal that they will be able to find success, whether it's big or small, in everything they try. In room 201 we are the nitty gritty!