April 6, 2018
Encouragement is defined as the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope. I wish I could provide some encouragement about the weather. I’m certain spring is coming, but it did in fact snow yesterday… on April 5th, for goodness’ sake. Since I am an educator by trade and not a meteorologist, I will stick to what I know about, how encouragement affects our staff and students.
We all need an encouraging word from time to time. Not just when times are tough, but also when we’ve committed to challenging, fulfilling work as well. Sometimes encouragement can be even more impactful when we’re experiencing a good flow and dynamic in our work and/or life. Good, hard work, can be exhausting and being surrounded by people who help lift us up is invaluable. The call at the end of the school year is to be that person. Be the parent, colleague, student, or coach who helps encourage and lift up those around us. An uplifting attitude, gracious supporter, and positive force can make all the difference in the school environment…in fact, it can be the MOST important contribution we can make as we work together to accomplish our goals.
For the record, there are approximately 40 days of school left before we conclude the 2017-18 School Year. Regardless of where these words find you on your school year journey, I thought this may be the perfect time to encourage staff and students about what could be accomplished during these “spring” days. Forty days still represents nearly 25% of the school year.
I can’t predict blue skies, sunny days, warm, spring breezes, but I know from experience that this last portion of the school holds a great deal of promise. Students whom we’ve been working with all year — who perhaps have been struggling or uncertain — can surprise us and themselves by blooming in ways hoped for. I’ve seen this time and again.
Even for students who have been consistently growing all year, this can still be dynamic time. The same can be said for all of us on staff. It’s the opportunity to refine that skill, learn that process, or apply oneself to a challenge that’s yet to be mastered. It’s time to set a few goals and commit them to writing… often telling a friend or colleague that you’re working on these holds us accountable to make progress as well. Knowing that you have people behind you, supporting your work is sometimes enough to push you to finish strong; that’s certainly what we intend to do this school year.
Looking forward, we will again offer a Summer Reading Challenge. Parents and students will be receiving additional information soon about how to participate. Any academic summer work completed helps fight regression and better prepare students for the rigors of the following school year. Keeping connected is also important. Feel free to follow me at @DrPaulMcDermott on Twitter for timely updates about the quality teaching and learning occurring within Forest Ridge School District 142.
And, by all means, take the time to enjoy and be reenergized by the beginning of our spring season!