As shared in an earlier post, from my perspective a key aspect in the growth of any person is the importance of reflection. Despite my efforts to find time do this regularly, the pace of summer seems to allow for more frequent and in-depth reflection. Recently, I was thinking of this past year – both the challenges but also the successes of our school. While this year has had significant hurdles and challenges that had to be worked through, I also recognize that for our students it was (in my humble opinion) a very successful year. As I reflected about “why”, I came to conclusions by asking myself “what do we learn from our students” and it allowed me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for our learners.
While our staff strived and were successful in providing learning experiences for students that were engaging, involved high-level thinking, a focus on skill development in areas of communication-collaboration-creativity and were built on relationships- I recognized that our students demonstrated and displayed so many attributes during these learning experiences every day. My learning from the students include the following observations:
- Positivity – Every day is a new day as they do not focus on the past failures but focus their energy on the present.
- Gratitude – They enjoy connecting with others and can easily smile and show their appreciation for others through words and actions.
- Mindset – They love to try new things – fail – try again – come close to the goal – adjust and then find success. Our students overall do model the importance of innovation and finding multiple answers to a problem.
- Learning is fun – They share their ideas in multiple formats and learn through just as many modalities. It is amazing to see how comfortable they are at learning new aspects ranging from making videos, playing games, picking up new skills…..they crave learning!
- Empathy – The many groups students worked in throughout the year displayed a “give and take”. They listened to other opinions, learned about others and used that information to make well-informed decisions in the best interest of the group.
- Human element – They display passion, heart and a relentless spirit in the pursuit of greatness. Whether it be the athletic field, the fine arts performance or a group of students completing a PBL – they amaze me with these attributes. They relate to each other, show compassion, build teamwork and communicate their ideas for the success of all.
My hope is that by understanding our learners regarding their hopes, goals, mindsets and habits – it will make me a better leader and help guide next steps in our building and in our work.
As I summarized these traits, I recognize that I need to do a better job of using these same characteristics in my learning, both individually and with our staff. This will help create excitement, a sense of purpose, a common vision and help all of us further understand our “why”. By establishing a stronger culture through connecting with each other and building trust, we will also then be able to better support our learners in our classroom with their learning experiences. I have learned from our students that when you establish trust while building positive and productive relationships, communicate in a personable and engaging way, then you can change the culture and reach excellence!
I look forward to hearing from you about what you learned from your students this year? Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org