Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude

I generally consider myself an optimistic person, one oriented toward a growth mindset. But I find that when it comes to “quality control” issues in our school environment, my critical side takes over.  I want the best for our students, so naturally, I turn my attention toward those areas that need improvement.

“Okay,” “mediocre,” “good enough” – really isn’t good enough for me.  Because I’m not willing to settle for “good enough” for our students.  They deserve the best education.  The best instruction.  The best assessments.  The best environment.

My goal always is to provide the best in education for them.  And that is the perspective from which my critical nature emerges.  Because I care – maybe to a fault --, I agonize over our shortcomings, seeking solutions to move every student, every teacher toward a first-rate educational experience.

So this Washington Post article about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg resonated with me (so much so that I tracked down the Business Week article that first quoted him).  Zuckerberg and I have something in common:   “’It’s important for me, because I’m a really critical person,’ he says at Facebook’s sprawling corporate campus in Menlo Park, Calif. ’I always kind of see how I want things to be better, and I’m generally not happy with how things are, or the level of service that we’re providing for people, or the quality of the teams that we built.’” 

Hmmm.  That could be a description of me.

What really hit home is how he finished that statement:  “’But if you look at this objectively, we’re doing so well on so many of these things.’”  Yes, we are doing so well on so many of these things, I think to myself.  “’I think it’s important to have gratitude for that.’” 


I am grateful. 

I am grateful for the students whose parents have entrusted us to teach them, to nurture them, to guide them.  For our teachers who spend countless hours planning & grading beyond their paid hours, for the expertise they bring to the classroom and to the athletic field, for their compassion and understanding, for their patience – even when they’re at their wit’s end, for their willingness to learn, to improve their practice, always striving to provide the best. For our administrators, whose unwavering support fortifies our efforts.  I am grateful.

I may not give up my “critical nature” for the Lenten Season, but I can take these forty days to express my gratitude.

After all, if Zuckerberg can write thank-you notes every day for a year, I can, at the least, do it for a season.

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