It’s my husband’s birthday. As I was thinking about him and what to get him, my mind shifted to his qualities. I realized he is a perfect example of someone who is resilient and has more grit than most. Why do those come to mind? Well, his brother passed on his birthday. He could have let that define him. He could have let it change him for the worse. Instead, he turned that experience into a driver of doing good. A big example, we do a memorial golf outing every year to raise money for high schoolers going to college or a trade school. We also try to make the best of every moment, because you never know…
I believe grit has a part to play in how each and every one of us deal with experiences like my husband. Author and researcher Andrea Duckworth shares that, “Grit has two components: passion and perseverance” (2016). Teaching is a passion-driven vocation. It is also a profession that we have to have perseverance in order to make an impact on kids. It takes drive, but also, I believe it takes growing your mindset and grit. Here are two tips I came up with as I thought about what my husband and I do when times get tough.
Tip #1: Get back up and persevere
You are right to have your moments, but don’t let it keep you down. Practically everything we do comes with chances, imperfection and messiness. Especially if we take risks. Failure sometimes is a result. That’s where the real learning takes place. How much grit do you have, whether a teacher or in another profession? I recommend looking into Andrea Duckworth’s work. Here is her 2013 TED Talk titled, Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. https://youtu.be/H14bBuluwB8.
Tip #2: Learn from your experiences
The defeat may not be fun to celebrate, but usually we learn from our failures and with encouragement in some way, we try again. Eventually, we succeed in our attempt, having grown in the process. Over the past few years of working with teachers, I have noticed that passion has been evident in stories and experiences they share. In story after story mentees seem to realize a trend – lean on each other rather than giving up, just like Jay.
What is showcased about education is that it takes grit to teach and grit to stay in the game of teaching. Duckworth further explains that talent takes effort to improve in a skill, but it takes effort to improve that skill and achieve. If we want our colleagues to succeed, we have to show them to take their drive and skill to teach, continuously putting in the effort to refine their practices over time. As teammates, we have to support each other in persevering by sharing how we have been persistent in our own experiences, along with reflecting on our implementation in teaching together. How can your personal experiences be your driver?
Collectively celebrating the grit and success is not only encouraging to your mindset, but to others as well. This is where the need to celebrate big comes in! For many, the success comes naturally to think of ways to acknowledge. So, try to brainstorm for ideas to celebrate when you get back up too. I leave you with thinking about your grit level. Look forward to my next post about those you look up to as mentors.
- Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.
- Duckworth, A. (2013) Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. TED Talk. https://youtu.be/H14bBuluwB8.