People measure success in many different ways and on many different levels. When setting goals in life or education, it’s important that we identify what success means to us personally, so that when we succeed we will know it.
I became a teacher to make a difference. I had dreams of teaching children to go beyond their immediate backyard, to offer them an opportunity to peek out at the possibilities the world has to offer. Having been bought up by a single mother of four, and living my early childhood well below the poverty line, it became my goal to provide the love of learning, joy of school and excitement of teaching so that the next generation could have better opportunities, experiences and options than I had. My life goal was to work toward creating a positive difference, by nurturing, encouraging and challenging the children (and later the staff) in my care, and thus add value to their lives.
We all have tales to tell and histories that make us who we are. These histories do not have to define who we can become. If this were true I too would be a solo mother of four still living below the poverty line, struggling to provide the basics for my children. My love of learning, and dedication to education has seen me overcome those odds. I measure my success against my own dreams and goals. However, that does not mean I have reached the pinnacle of success nor does it mean that my journey stops here. I have more dreams and more goals and more successes to strive for. This Growth Mindset message is one we have been emphasising with our children for some time now. We hope it has become embedded in their psyche and will help carry (and push) them to personal success throughout their lives.
Throughout my time at Woodhill School we have been encouraging and supporting children to realise and see they can be what they want to be, and they can achieve whatever they want to achieve. It requires a Growth Mindset and Grit in the Learning Pit. This is also supported by our school values - Together We Care Learn and Grow. These values hold a simple yet powerful message. We only need to stop and think, what does it really mean?
CARE - for ourselves, others and our environment.
This starts at home and is extended beyond ourselves. It is about being self-less and caring about everyone rather than only those close to you. It means having empathy and an understanding of and empathy toward other people and their cultures. It also means caring beyond today and looking at tomorrow, because what we do now, will impact future generations.
As an example, through the power of the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori are now in a position to think and plan for future generations.
LEARN - to be curious, creative, collaborative, critical and reflective.
This starts at home and is extended locally by working together. Encouraging, co-operating, collaborating, sharing and accepting others' ideas and opinions. Encouraging children to have an open mind and have the courage to ask questions. Creating a supportive environment where everyone is inspired to ‘have a go’ and accept that we all learn from our ‘mis-takes.’
GROW - by Dreaming, Daring and Doing
This starts by ‘Dreaming’ - a goal starts with a dream.
To become a goal you must Dare - have the courage to ‘have a go’.
Dreaming and Daring are important but they must lead to action - to Doing. We put our dreams into action by ‘doing’.
Everyone has their own definition of success in life. It’s not my job to live up to someone else’s idea of success. My accomplishments and successes are mine, not theirs. And I get to measure success by my own standard. We teach our learners to set high standards and have high expectations and then to strive to meet them. This leads to my definition of success - the inner satisfaction that comes from putting your heart and soul into something.