In my post last week, I shared my thoughts on what I felt are the real responsibilities of my job. While the focus of the post was around building culture, and working towards improvement, I had a conversation with a student this week that made me rethink about what I wrote. While I still believe building culture is the top priority, and helping people grow and improve in that culture is vital to success; the conversation I had with this student reminded me there are moments when is it is not always about getting better, sometimes it is about retaining hope.
The final haul of a school year can be tough for many. Motivation can wain, frustrations from the year can become more intense, and the pressures of finishing on track are strong; not to mention the mass amount of testing that takes place. The student whom I was speaking with was struggling with, like many others, everything on the above list. I know that this particular student typically performs decently academically, and usually has it all together, but for them in the past couple weeks it has all become overwhelming.
During the conversation, we were discussing how to get back on the right track and how to stay focused, when I realized the conversation did not need to be about a logical path for improvement. The conversation needed to take on the emotional side of the student’s well being- and address the issue of having hope. This student knew he needed to put in more effort; he knew he was not focusing like he needed to; yet, he did not see a reason to continue. He had lost hope. Instead of trying to help him by applying logic to the situation, he needed to be emotionally supported first. Before he needed logic and a plan, he needed hope.
I think the same can apply to those of us who serve in the field of education. While continuing improvement is vital to success, sometimes on those hard days it is not always about getting better; sometimes it is about retaining hope. Without hope, we can lose sight of the high expectations we set for ourselves and our students. Hope keeps the belief alive that all students can have a successful future, even when we they have seemed to have lost focus and direction, and we are downtrodden with their effort or performance. Hope keeps us going. If we lose hope, improvement and the drive to be better is lost as well.
Hope gives us the courage to make hard decisions.
Hope sustains us in living a positive life and having a positive attitude.
Hope provides endurance for the big and small tasks ahead of us.
Hope keeps us focused on doing the hard work in front of us daily.
Hope tells us that even on the worst days, each person is capable of a better tomorrow.
While striving to get better is vital to our success, and equipping others with the tools they need to achieve is paramount in our role as leaders, we cannot lose sight of emotionally supporting those we serve. Sometimes it is not about getting better; it is about retaining hope.
I challenge you to make a conscious effort as we approach the last month of the school year to keep hope alive for yourself and your students!
Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing!