Here we are again – the night before the first day of school. I’m excited about the upcoming year, and full of anticipation for all that is to come. I’ve watched as my new students have walked through the doors to register – many are nervous and unsure of themselves, and I want to make sure that each and every one of them leaves at the end of the year confident and capable in their abilities.
But I know that this can be difficult. While school is all about learning, mastery, and achievement, and is designed to reward and celebrate those things, I also know for some of my students this year, in spite of having a great need for power, they might not be able to satisfy that need easily. How does someone feel a sense of accomplishment when they work hard and still fail that test? Or when they are sitting in a class trying desperately to understand algebra, and it’s just not connecting for them? If they are to leave feeling confident and capable, how can we create the conditions for this to happen?
So tonight, I’m thinking about ways that people can gain that sense of power in ways other than strictly academic achievement. I want to ensure that there are leadership opportunities for them- so that even if academics are a challenge, that people still know that they are important to how our school functions and that their efforts really make a difference. I want to ensure that my students learn that no one has all the answers all the time, but that they have figured out where to go and how to get the answers and help that they need when they inevitably hit a wall. I want to teach them how to honestly reflect on their own progress, and to take pride in their own growth instead of focusing externally and comparing themselves to others. I want them to know that when they have lent a helping hand to someone else, that they may have changed the course of another person’s life. I want them to know that achievement and success come in many different ways.
What ways do you help to create opportunities for your students to fulfill their need for power?