What if we all could see the extraordinary in each child, each person we met on the street, and ourselves? Wouldn’t that be a miracle? Every moment would feel extraordinary. Days would become endless moments of enjoyment and community.
Imagine a day in your classroom in the future where you can see each individual’s strengths and interests. You would know exactly how to teach each child with joy and enthusiasm.
Most of us begin each year wrestling with standards from which we judge our children—at grade level, below, or above. Your terminology may be different but it’s the same basic idea: comparison.
But if we truly embrace a growth mindset (both with ourselves and with our students), we’re giving each of us permission to be exactly where we are—not a level, not a standard, and certainly not a number or a percentage or an “above” or “below”.
Grades are an academic construct we use to judge our children. Yes, we use them. But they don’t have to rule us as teachers.
Michelangelo said that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue. What if we were to apply this vision to education? To our children? Ourselves? If we focused our energy on chiseling away at the stone to reveal each child’s gifts, growing each one’s skill, mastery, and knowledge, what could be grow? What would we accomplish? Who would we become?
If we align ourselves with our students and not the standards—(although we do teach using the standards)—we create community and relationship. Isn’t relationship—that bond we have with our students—our passion that sustains us?
We all yearn to make a difference. What if that difference looks like a beautiful statue (instead of a cynical child)?
Imagine the possibility.
I know you do not need any convincing. What we all need is practice.
Tomorrow, next week, or right now: practice seeing the extraordinary in every child—the sculpture you create from marble as the artist. Or imagine every student and person is exactly who they are meant to be. Already. Somewhere inside.
You, dear teacher, are exactly who you are meant to be: conductor, artist, and creator of extraordinary things—children who are passionate about learning.