As the year moves along quickly with or without us, I am trying hard to schedule time to do the things that keep the discussion of education at the top of the list. It is redundant for me to say that I like to find cross over from personal events to professional learning, but it is what helps me find balance when focusing on priorities. Over the last few months, I have learned what it means to be a gymnastics mom, as my 7 yrs old Brennan competes for the first time as a gymnast. Lots of learning curves for both of us in this latest venture but the biggest take away has to be courage. Courage to have professional/athletic fuel rather than live with personal failure.
At this point in the season, Brennan has had modest success in his competitions. Medaling in some events, improving his scores, and working on form. From earlier blogs, you can deduce that Brennan slowing down enough to work on form is a major accomplishment in itself. Two weeks ago, Brennan and his coach decided it was time to “go big” and work on some more advanced elements than he hadn’t attempted in the past. He went big and he went home posting what he coined “not my best day”.
A week later, Brennan and his team were back in competition, and he was nervous to get back out there and “go big” again. But that’s when the connection to education was highlighted. This 7 year old had learned from the failures last weekend, working on his skills at practice, listening to his coaches feedback, and gaining the confidence to try again to show what he could do. Feeling confident, having professional fuel after learning from those failures paid off!
As leaders, educators, and colleagues, are we encouraging our students, teachers, and administrators to take risks? Do we have the relationships, trust, and an environment that encourages risk taking in learning? Are we encouraging students and teachers with feedback that builds their confidence to take risks even after failures? Are we highlighting the learning potential when we fail and responding with reflection and commitment to professional fuel? Are we as individuals taking feedback constructively and using it to try again and improve upon our skills? Do we live by personal failures or professional fuel? Are we truly committed to high expectations for learning, which can only be evident when we continuously seek new and better ways to engage students in the process? What is it worth to you as educators and leaders to take risks, give and get feedback, and build confidence in serving our students at a higher level?
If the smile, posture, and pride of a 7 year old standing atop the podium doesn’t illustrate the power of those qualities, I don’t know what will!
Yours in Education,
Danielle Prohaska, Superintendent
Mechanicsburg Exempted Village SD