Monday, May 8, 2017

Grit. Revisited.


The following is an essay I wrote a year ago. At that point, I was writing short newsletters to our teaching staff every Sunday, reviewing what was happening on the Playworks playground and offering stories I hoped would make them smile and feel joined to something beyond their own classrooms.

This experience helped launch what I have accomplished a year later: the publication of my first book, Dear Teachers. You might say I demonstrated some grit! I’ve always enjoyed writing. This time, I kept writing and rewriting until I had crafted 40 essays I believed would interest a broad range of educators on topics from finding niches to finding sweetness.

My intentions remain the same: I hope to initiate some smiles and remind educators that they are connected far beyond their classrooms. I relied on Marlene Oswald’s photographs to give me a comfortable and approachable starting point. Her images lend themselves to relaxed study. I placed writing prompts to help readers remember ideas stirred by their time spent with the book. The Facebook group for readers will be another opportunity to unite and encourage.

I hope our book brings us all a little bit closer and a little further down our paths.

In re-reading this essay, I smiled at its roughness. I’ve already grown in my writing style since then. It was written in the craziness of the last weeks of a school year, as we find ourselves in once again, to encourage everyone to forge ahead and not give up.

Another example of the power of sticking to something. Here’s to grit!

May 1, 2016

Grit: (noun) Courage and resolve; passion and interest over time.

Heard a discussion on NPR this morning about grit. Angela Duckworth, psychology professor from the University of Pennsylvania, has written a book about it, called Grit. I loved how Dr. Duckworth had great ideas about grit and related traits like empathy and curiosity but also fights the notion we can/should test for it, or grade it or decide how effective a teacher is by how much grit his/her students have.

I had a few cases this past week out on the playground where grit came into play (word fun!):

I don’t want to coach that game.”
“It’s so cold.”
“But she’s doing it, too.”
“I want to try, but I’m not good enough.”
“Ugh! It’s only Wednesday!”

That last one was me. :-) Anyway, each one of these quotes is either an opportunity to show grit or to give up. We can help each other out by how we respond:

“How about you cover that game for 10 minutes and then switch at the bell.”
“Let’s run some relays!”
“I have some 3rd graders who would love to show you how to play RoShamBo relay instead.”
“Stand right here and I’ll be your partner- we’ll do it together.”
“But you made it!”

Sometimes, it’s the tiniest of things from deep inside ourselves and those around us that help us make it to the end.

Let’s do this!!!

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