This year's class of freshmen students is a one-of-a-kind group and I sensed their potential from the first day of school. While some teachers are impressed with intelligence, athleticism and demeanor, I consider camaraderie and personal regard for one another as key ingredients to the long-term success as individuals and the overall collective. I doubt they were ever made aware of it before, but they exhibit a rare quality which is genuine and very true. There is something "there" which other classes lack in social interaction, and they have the opportunity to achieve things which is sometimes recognized as greatness.
They enjoy competition, but keep it in perspective. They take learning serious, but enjoy moments when they can kick back and just be themselves. They aspire to be good and are just beginning to learn what it will take to become "the best" in every sense of the word. As one of their teachers I look for any opportunity to introduce new concepts which brings the real world into my classroom. It doesn't necessarily need to be one of my past experiences in the workplace (although it sometimes help)...just as long as I am genuine in my approach. Kids can see a phony coming from any direction, but when you show your human side you get their attention.
Today I introduced GOAL PLANNING 101 and my opening question was "What does it take to accomplish a goal?" They came up with some pretty good answers, but the most important response was left unheard. I waited until they exhausted their list, and then added what I felt was most important...'You have to write it down on paper.' I shared moments when salespeople told me they were going to do this and that- and then neglected to write it in their daily planners in order to insure that it was something they were REALLY going to attempt to accomplish. I spoke of my friend James and how he worked diligently over many hours to construct an outline which spelled out his road map for success. Finally, I reminded them how a group of aspiring patriots came together during the summer of 1776 to construct a paper which one day became our Declaration of Independence. "Imagine what our country might have turned into had they NOT written everything down on paper? Do you really think they would have succeeded?"
Not every student in my room heard and understood 100% of the words I spoke today, but they know I'll revisit the concept again in the days ahead. There will be some who shrug it off as meaningless and sublime, but I willing to bet that most of this group will "get it" and begin working on their individual goals. They know my door is always open, Mr. D is there to help, and that success is something worth pursuing. This is a group which will eventually leave their mark of achievement as others had only hoped to do...count on it!