Friday, August 5, 2011

Looking for the Good

Image: photostock /
School begins in a few days in our school corporation, and I am looking forward to it. The first day of school is an amazing day. It seems like everyone is optimistic and willing to believe in the possibility of their own success and power to learn.

Kids are excited to be here and are curious to learn what their classes will be like, what their teachers will be like, and which of their friends they'll be able to see throughout the day. Frankly, teachers are no different.

We all dress up a little more, prepare a little more fully, get up earlier to start the day. We invite our students to imagine the year ahead with excitement. In short, we bring our best selves to the task. Students do this as well.

I've come to realize that great teachers are the ones who manage to maintain that sense of optimism and possibility over time, and more importantly, manage to inspire it in their students. It's not easy to do, and it requires purposeful effort to avoid the cynicism inspired by the political climate in which we work.

Someone once told me that to be a successful teacher, one needs to find joy in every student and find something to celebrate in your work every day.  I hope that the teachers my children have this year will subscribe to that philosophy.

I ran across this video yesterday on TransLeadership by Tony Baldasaro. It's lengthy, but if you find yourself in need of a reminder of the optimism you started with this year, I hope you'll take the time to watch it:

We all need to re-examine our core business, and remember that education is meant to further the fundamentally human and social act of learning. It should bring us joy, and we have a responsibility to nurture the same joy in our students.

I hope everyone has an amazing start of school that kicks off a year of powerful learning.

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