Quotes I love, thoughts, ideas, gratitude, etc.

Monday, September 24, 2012

GRIT and Character Education

Read a great book on a friend's recommendation. Paul Tough's, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character 

He makes a great case that we need to be better about helping our students lower anxiety and stress, as well as help them employ habits of mind and spirit.  Educational success and, I believe, success in life (i.e. job success, marriage, raising children, etc.) requires the ability to stick to it, and not give up.

Two points really resonated.  One biological, one philosophical.  First, we need to help our young children lead as stress-free a life as possible.  Be present.  Show unconditional love.  Be okay with failure.  Practice being less grade-driven.  Second, schools need to embrace and energize the idea that we must educate our students about character.  Being resilient is crucial.  Taking risks is essential.  Expressing creativity is vital.

Our goal should not be to get kids into a four year college, but to graduate from the college they choose in four years, and have a successful life beyond.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Keeping a Winning Attitude

Having a winning attitude is something that is essential to be an effective leader.   Recently, I asked our student leaders to read a great little book written for teens:
If You're Not the Lead Dog, the View Never Changes

The first chapter is all about the importance of attitude.  Last Friday our leadership group of about 40 students talked and learned about ways to keep a winning attitude.  We made index cards with behaviors that were positive and likely to produce a positive attitude and behaviors that diminished attitude.  We listened to some Eminem as a way to pump us up and show the power of music to help our attitude and finally, we had a conversation about a half-full/empty beaker and how we are wholly responsible for how we see a situation.  I received the following email which made my day:

Hi Mr. Booker!

I hope this email finds you having/had a great labor day weekend! I wanted to express my thank you for your lecture in the leadership meeting on Friday afternoon.

Earlier that day I was extremely stressed, sleep deprived, and all week had been struggling with my sister being away at college. As a matter of fact, I was even venting with a great friend (who was equally venting back) as we walked in to Foundation Hall for the meeting. I had a negative energy that seemed to be taking over everything I did. Once you began your lecture about having a great attitude I thought it was ironic and a bit coincidental. So, in response my friend and I giggled because we knew that the lecture would seem to speak directly at us. And it did.
Mr. Booker your speech was so helpful. I let go of all the stress from the week and focused on every conversation, class, and assignment for the future being done as positively as possible. Although I did have a hard class and had to deal with a difficult friend issue, I kept your uplifting voice in my head and it got me home for this long weekend!

I want you to know how much your lecture spoke to me, and how great it really was!
Thank you so much for turning my day around!