The educational leadership groups use buzz words to improve teaching and learning. Usually, these words become trendy. That being said, the latest words start with "Gr" sound, and they are grit, grind, and grow. When I heard those words used in conversation and in tangent with each other, I couldn't help but think of Tony the Tiger and Kellogg's cornflakes. His famous saying is "They're Grrreat!!" For me, GRIT, GRIND, and GROWTH are essential teaching tools for being a great teacher. Grrreat teachers come to school every day with the GRIT to persevere, with determination to GRIND it out, and with a reflective attitude for GROWTH and development.
Teachers have to have GRIT to make it through their day. My wife, Brittany, is a high school English teacher. I see and hear how tough the job is, and I agree when she says that they do not get the recognition and appreciation for doing their job day in and day out. Throughout her day, she wears many hats, makes many decisions, and invests her time, energy, and money into this field, a missionary field. Just like my wife, teachers must push through the hard times and overcome several adversities. To cross that finish line, teachers need grit. To me, grit is an attitude, a mindset, and a presence. I see it, hear it, and feel it with my teachers. Great principals need grit as well. For me, I remind myself that I come to work to add value to teachers and students. I remind myself that I am committed to making a difference in the lives of my teachers and students.
People in the workforce refer to their job as the "daily grind." Grind is a standard vocabulary word for athletes, coaches, and sports commentators when talking about sporting events. Now, educational leaders are using "grind" to inspire teachers to keep going and to keep fighting the good fight. Great teachers grind every day. They teach bell to bell; they make learning real and relevant; they hold students accountable for learning; they believe in doing whatever it takes to get better every single day. The list goes on and on. They roll up their sleeves and get to work. These teachers use their passion to attack the day and “grind” it out. These teachers look for opportunities to maximize their performance and their students’ performance.
To possess grit and grind in the teaching field is good to have, but it is not enough. In my opinion, the primary tool for successful teaching is GROWTH. Teachers have to learn from their experiences. Those experiences will be positive and negative. Positive experiences are fun. They feel good, and they make you smile. However, there will be negative experiences. How we face those experiences and how we learn from those experiences will make us better in the teaching field. My last blog entry spoke on evaluated experience. I am an advocate for evaluating your experiences. That is the only way we, as teachers and leaders, are going to make teaching and learning better for us and for our students. One of my favorite authors, John Maxwell has a quote about leadership. He says “if you continually invest in your leadership development, letting your ‘assets’ compound, the inevitable result is growth over time.” The keys words from this quote are continually, assets, and time. To grow, you have to evaluate yourself regularly and give yourself time. Remember, growth is a process.
What’s in your teaching breakfast bowl? I know what’s in mine. With grit, grind, and growth, I will make a difference not only in my life but also in the lives of others. Get out there and win the spirit award with grit, use that elbow grease to grind the day, and grow from your lessons learned.