I used to think resilience was all about being able to get back up after a setback: Never giving up.
After being a teacher for 11 years, my definition of resilience has been modified a bit. It has been through those experiences in the classroom that I have added to my personal understanding of the importance of being a resilient teacher in today’s classroom.
Resilience = Preparation + Recovery + Adaptation + Personal Growth
Let me share a secret with you, I am a bit of an introvert. Most people would not believe that, as I am, at this very moment, sharing my opinions to a number of people I don’t personally know. Standing up in front of a group of teachers is very intimidating. But, through resilience, I have overcome some of my own self-doubt and have presented at the university level, district level and campus level. I give complete credit to Jon Gordon’s 1% Rule. This is the idea that every single day give 1% more than you did the day before. I believe I have become a stronger coach, more positive leader, and a more connected teammate because I try to give 1% more of my time to each person, 1% more energy to a task than the day before, and 1% more focus on the collaboration.
I believe that if a teacher can commit to the 1% Rule in their classroom, they will see the connections, the positivity, and the gratitude in their students. This allows apprehensive teachers to take on just a little bit more, try something different, and not be so overwhelmed with it being such a huge jump into the deep end. A resilient teacher needs to commit to giving 1% more than they did the day before.
After reading Jon Gordon’s books; The Power of a Positive Team and The Power of a Positive Leader, I have been able to find my North Star and everything that I do, plan for, and put my time and energy into is to accomplish both my Vision and Mission for our campus.
A Resilient teacher cannot be prepared if he/she does not know their Vision for his/her future and their Mission in the classroom. Your Why (vision) guides classroom decisions, and your How (mission) keeps teachers from burning out. KNOW your WHY and you will always be prepared and always resilient.
I was an English Language Arts teachers for 8 years, and in that time I taught 3 different grade levels under 5 different leadership changes. I have learned to adapt with new expectations and new team members.
The resilient teacher remembers that the job cannot be done alone, without collaboration, or help.
One of the best years was when I had a team that was as different as salt and pepper, but we knew each other’s strengths (and weaknesses) and we used that information to help our students grow. That unity became our power, and we were committed to making selfless decisions because we had the same Vision and Mission.
A Resilient teacher takes the time to build that connection among their team.
In the last five years, Carol Dweck’s growth mindset has really taken off in the educational world. I remember bringing this to my very own classroom five years ago, and I was able to watch my students’ resilience and tenacity grow to tremendous state outcomes.
Lessons have failed, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and there were days in the classroom that I just wanted that magic brain eraser from Men in Black. Thankfully, I was working with kids- whom are very forgiving and understanding. Knowing that teachers are ‘human’ allows us to recover from these errors, show our new mindset and use it as a teachable moment.
A resilient teacher knows of the Power of Yet, understands that teaching requires Grit, and without a growth mindset teaching is truly impossible.
Today, teachers MUST be resilient.