Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cheering Yourself Forward in Education

Each day is like the big game. You create strategy, prep materials, anticipate challenges and meet the day ready to win. The win is effectively meeting students' needs and bringing them forward.

Due to the complexity of the education environment, you often have to be your own cheerleader urging yourself forward with reflection, vision and strength--no one is looking over your shoulder and your work is often unnoticed. There's no bottom line, profit graphs or bonuses to reward your efforts. The rewards are mostly internal, intangible and invisible.

A child's smile, an earnest parent note or a pat on the back from a colleague or administrator provide glimpses of your work's result.  The paycheck, to-do list and job requirements are the real-world structure and reward.  But what truly fuels your work is your vision--the reason you chose this profession in the first place, an opportunity to positively effect what matters.

It's not much different for our students. The rewards for their hard work in schools each day are also often internal, intangible and invisible.  They too cheer themselves on each and every day to do their best work, and effect positive growth and change.

We can invigorate our environments by not only cheering ourselves along, but by also cheering our students and colleagues along with the creation of vibrant, responsive learning environments that focus on best effort, effect and care for one another.  Our collective vision and effort will invigorate our daily work and effect.

I'll start the day with this in mind.  I'll make the time to cheer my students on as we reflect on our common goals and the work we do.  I'll remark that our efforts are directed towards a goal bigger than today, and that's the goal of strong concept, skill and knowledge to support a happy, kind and active life.