It’s always great to begin with a success, so let’s try that now.
Pick up a pencil or pen and draw a circle. Now draw a second circle and try and make it better than the first. Now draw a third circle and just try and make it better than the second.
What did you notice? Did your circle improve? What ishappening here is you were highly focused, had a clear strategy and had high expectations of yourself and your body and mind responded. Remember just how quickly improvements can come if you feel stuck in the future!
Great education is all about opening doors for children. The opportunities you provide and the wonderful experiences that you help to bring about each day have the potential to change lives at the deepest level.
I began a musical journey that has lasted over 20 years through a primary school musical experience. Remember, we open the doors, as many as possible, the children and young people choose which ones to go through. You are the key holders to these doors, what a wonderful realisation! In her book, Grit, Psychologist Angela Duckworth identifies two aspects necessary for resilience in people: high expectations and high support. Now whilst it can almost seem easy to see high expectations as akin to exhausting work effort, this is not the case. Like in the drawing circles example, the best way to consider high expectations is to know your own capabilities and look to raise them consistently, in small increments; you do not need to draw 100 circles to improve! Similarly, high levels of support are essential.
Whatsapp groups, key trusted people, family support, scheduling in time for important conversations, relationship building, delegation, training, unions, networking and business groups are all ways in which you can make sure that you receive the support needed to keep you healthy, happy and well. The true success lies in an ability to apply a consistent, joyful effort towards a worthwhile cause.
‘...the wonderful experiences that you help to bring about each day have the potential to change lives at the deepest level.’
How we see things, our perception is integral to what they mean to us; so remember this- you matter and the work you do is important. It does not matter if no one else acknowledges this to you, or if you never even hear these words out loud. Know that it is fundamentally true. Often as educators, we plant seeds and do not see the fruit, but this can be an opportunity for great satisfaction, knowing that every time you interact well and lift someone’s spirits, their future, their aspirations through the work that you do, your legacy extends and becomes that bit more real.
Highly influential leader John C Maxwell asked leaders to ask themselves if they wanted to grow followers or leaders. It is our great work to grow each person, child, young adult, staff and team member, superior and associate, into the best version of themselves, through our daily works of service, leadership and personal formation.
Never forget that we have the capacity to believe in a person and their potential before they can even see it themselves. What a privilege to always bear in mind when times are difficult. Be strong, be courageous. Know that your work is purposeful and has meaning. There are no known limits to the amount of good that a person can do in their lifetime. In a single year, you have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people and their families.
Embrace this challenge, know that meaningful work is extremely difficult, keep your motivation strong through expecting your best from yourself and equally making sure you are well supported and 2019 can be the best year of your life so far…