Everybody respects heroes because they rise above average to do extraordinary things. Common wisdom sees heroism as something you attain by serving others. It’s that firefighter who saves lives or that doctor who finds a cure for a disease. But maybe heroism doesn’t require such remarkable work. Maybe if we just put trust in who we are and emanate confidence, then that will make us a hero.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. is a powerful text that many credit as the direct inspiration for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the letter, King outlines the careful decision-making that went into timing his …
When students are told they can change the world, many don’t believe it. They think that making the world a better place is a task for the people who are in power, not the average person. But doing small things can make a big difference. What a person does in the classroom, at his/her school or in the community can provide the soil for real change. But it’s hard work and it requires patience and hope and faith in the future, and those virtues are really hard to cultivate.
Students are always being told to do their best and that there is intrinsic value to putting in a hard day of work, regardless of whether they achieve what they set out to do. Students are also expected to achieve results from their work. After all, there seems to be little value in working so hard if goals aren’t met in the end. All students must balance these conflicting expectations throughout their lives and figure out their own way to define the value of their efforts.
So many of our students feel pressure to be the perfect athlete, student or friend. This feeling is accompanied by a pervasive fear of failure and the possibility that they might let others down. When they fall short of perfection, students have important decisions to make about whether to keep pursuing it or be okay with something less. The decisions they make shape their sense of self-worth and draw the contours of their future relationships.
Adults sing the praise of the importance of patience. The advice to kids usually goes something like this: if you are patient and work hard over time, you put yourself in a position to accomplish great things. Success never comes easy. Life is a grind and you should develop a growth mindset to persevere through it. Though sometimes a person’s life experiences seems to teach the opposite lesson; that sometimes going after what you want quickly and aggressively will lead to even greater accomplishments. Impatience can be a virtue as well.
Trust requires that you must set aside your feelings of suspicion and agree to work with people in good faith. Sometimes, trust is so hard to attain, whether it be on the playground, in the classroom or with your friends. Yet, to live and solve problems with other people, we need to trust them. Trusting others will sometimes lead us into grim disappointment but it can also restore our faith in humanity. Building trust is a skill and must be practiced over time to see and reap its benefits.
All students know at some level what it feels like to be humiliated. When this happens, the person who is hurt has a decision to make– he/she can either buy into the criticism and be made to feel small and insignificant or he/she can resist feelings of inferiority and defeat the criticism through positive thinking. It takes tons of energy to build and maintain a strong self-esteem in the midst of criticism and humiliation but it’s energy well spent and leads to the development of a strong character.
Negative people are everywhere, whether it be in the classroom, at home or at the workplace. We often feel trapped and expected to be patient with people who bring us down. Sometimes we’re forced to flee these situations, especially when negativity turns to hate. Escape from negative people can preserve our integrity and save our energies for people who bring out the best in us. We must all make smart choices about the people with whom we associate. After all, our happiness is at stake.
There’s no denying that confidence plays a role in success. What’s harder to determine is just what kind of role. Some say that a confident mindset going into a task is the most important ingredient for success. Others say the only way to be confident is to actually achieve something first. Students must determine for themselves how to gain confidence in a way that supports their happiness and positive sense of self-worth.
I may have stumbled into a way to 1. inspire students to ask more questions 2. encourage close reading of a primary source 3. save time Back story: Around 10 years ago I watched my student teacher try a strategy …
While it is true that education is valuable to all of us at any age, it is also true that our energies and resources are limited and must be used wisely if we want to change the world into something better. Some say that children should be the focus because their minds are more easily shaped and influenced; others suggest that adults– who are actually in positions of power and influence– should take a front-and-center importance to our efforts to change minds and improve the world.