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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


The Grit of Teachers

Teacher? Educator? Then you probably have one of the most emotionally complex, under valued, publicly berated, depressingly thankless yet totally essential and immensely valuable jobs in the world. There are days, aren't there, when the knocks keep coming, when you forget or question why you ever committed to this, of all professions.

Your lesson bombs, a new child arrives in your class (his fifth school this year), new initiatives are imposed, inspection criteria change, a chat with a colleague leaves you doubting your skills, your confidence dented. And then the personal stuff seeps in: family, friends, bills, relationships and the basic day-to-day demands of the 21st century.

Thankfully it's not always like this, and we can often work from the passion and commitment that first drew us to teaching. But when times are tough the tough get gritty.

GRIT is the passionate unwavering dedication to a single goal.

Gritty folks stay focussed; they keep their attention on the goal.

Gritty folks are determined; they keep on swimming towards the goal, day after day, week after week, no matter what.

And gritty folks are resilient; they use their failures, learn from their mistakes and work through their setbacks.

Grit isn't an easy ride. Just look at it there on the road, hard, grey, tough, lasting. Grit is not a walk in the park or a lovely aspirational dream-board or a flagging new year resolution. Grit is failure and learning from it; grit is falling down and getting up and falling down again and getting up once more; grit is taking a hit and another and another and another yet staying strong and staying positive because deep down, deep inside, you believe in what you're doing, you believe in why you're doing it and you believe in the students who show up in your classes each day.

And when we teachers sit with ourselves and each other through gritty times, when we see it through and find ourselves better, stronger, wiser and more skilled, only then do we get the ultimate prize; a prize that other professions often miss: the reward of seeing others grow and thrive and succeed, and know that it is, in part, because of us that they've made it.

Merry Grit Day!
(not official but maybe it should be)

Posted in: Mindset/Skillset
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