STICK with the GRIT

Post date: Nov 22, 2017 3:20:01 AM


Master Teacher I, BNHS

Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University developed the idea of “growth mindset “. She believed that the ability to learn is not fixed, and that it can change with one’s effort. She has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain, and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.

As teachers, we see some of our students give up. Some of them don’t. From posts in facebook, newspaper articles, and even in school, we witness their struggles. From the STEP classes down to the common ones, we hear them whine over homeworks, projects and big exams. Yet, they still make it. They survive. Apparently, we learned that they, who do not give up might, well, have the GRIT. It’s just that it differs to some degree or another.

But, what really, is a grit? According to Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It is the stamina which keeps someone to move on, not just for today, not just for a week, or for just a month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.” This is very true not just for our students, but for us teachers as well.

Undeniably, we are bombarded with various paper works, reports and miscellaneous tasks aside from our usual duties as teachers. We keep complaining that we cannot cope with the fast-pacing changes brought by 21st Century education. We seem to give up at times, especially if we think we are abandoning our family, giving insufficient time to ourselves, and sometimes, losing our faith as well. As a result, we unintentionally lose our grit. What grit am I stressing? THE GRIT TO TEACH. To teach them to persevere. To teach them to be resilient. To teach them to love learning. And so, we fail to motivate our students. We fail to inculcate to them that it is okay to fail. That, they can do better. In short, we fail to teach. For, even if we deny it or make excuses, students sense if we still LOVE what we are doing, or we are just doing what we are obliged to do.

We always tell our students that they can always choose their own paths in life. That they can be successful in it. And they always do. Some of them may fail, yes, but so what? That’s why we are here as their teachers. We as teachers just need the grit to do whatever it takes to turn things around. Like what Angela Duckworth said, “That’s the work that stands before us. We need to take our best ideas, our strongest intuitions, and we need to test them. We need to measure whether we’ve been successful, and we have to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again, with lessons learned.” And I believe we do.

After all, everyone has grit. And every once in a while, we just might need to encourage our students, our colleagues, or even ourselves, to get grittier.