This past Wednesday, our high school launched what we're calling "Advisory Period". In brief, advisories will act a little like a homeroom for our high school students. Once a week, students will meet with their advisory group for 30 minutes and engage in some sort of task -- team building, character building, class meetings, etc. Advisory teachers will also monitor student grades and provide an extra layer of support for students who might be struggling.
Advisory groups will be grouped with students in the same grade. I have been assigned students from the incoming freshmen class. Therefore, this spring I was assigned to help the counselors with the entire class of seniors. The counselors had a list of newsworthy items they disseminated to the seniors. They also showed the seniors a video of a TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth titled GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
As I watched the video, I found myself inspired by Angela's explanation of "Grit". She says, "Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality." I started to reflect on my goals and dreams and arrived at the realization that I haven't been very gritty as of late.
In 2015, I was nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). I worked hard to complete the challenging application and later found out that I was a state finalist for the award. Ultimately, I did not win the award. I received feedback on my application from the state and national level reviewers. Much of my application was strong, but not strong enough.
Due to being a state finalist, I was automatically eligible to re-apply in 2017. [2016 was a K-6 level year.] Much of my previous application can be used again, but improving it is where I've lacked grittiness. I haven't had the motivation or perseverance to dig in and improve it. The application is due on May 1st and the clock is ticking.
Thank you, Angela, for the inspirational talk. Not only am I going to complete the award application, you have also re-kindled my motivation to write blog posts and be more reflective in my practice. Sometimes I need a reminder to work hard and think critically about my teaching style, pedagogy, and decisions. Angela's talk served as a great reminder.