Ever needed a pick-me-up? I'm not talking about a Venti Espresso from Starbucks or a Red Bull energy drink, but rather a boost of the verbal variety. Ever needed a kind word to lift your spirits or encourage you to keep going? I have.
I love my job. I mean, I really love my job. Having the opportunity to interact with students, parents, and staff at my school on a daily basis is incredibly rewarding. Seeing smiling faces. Giving high fives as students are dropped off in the morning. Seeing the "light bulbs" turn on for students as I visit classrooms. It's awesome. I am truly blessed to do what I do.
But if I'm being honest, I'm tired. My teachers and support staff are tired. I'm writing this post on a Sunday afternoon in mid-May, and there are a lot of balls in the air with only three weeks to go in the school year. Finishing up state testing. End-of-year district testing. End-of-year field trips and grade level activities. These on top of the typical day-to-day responsibilities. I'm tired, both physically and mentally, and a Carmel Frappuccino can only do so much.
I've been in need of a boost, and this past Monday I got one. At 9:32 p.m. I received an email from the parent of two of my students. It was a simple message containing four short sentences. It simply thanked me for what I do and let me know I was appreciated. Four short sentences...that brought me to tears.
See, it was exactly what I needed to hear (or read) at that exact moment in time. The parent's words had a profound impact on me that didn't just make my day, they buoyed me for the rest of the week. As my friend Cori Orlando has so beautifully written, words are powerful. They have the ability to build up, to encourage, to inspire. Speaking or writing kind words is so easy to do, yet this simple action can have an impact that is immeasurable.
Receiving this encouraging message from a parent last week reminded me of the need to speak life into those around me. I'm challenging myself and anyone reading this to make someone's day. Speak, write, text, or email some encouraging words. Express your appreciation. Say, "Thank you." Go ahead, make someone's day. You never know -- you may make his/her week, month, or even year.
My school is full of amazing students. 875 of them to be exact.
While part of my job as a principal is working with students who, at times, make choices that prevent them from meeting the school’s behavioral expectations, I also get to see daily examples of kindheartedness, sharing, perseverance, and forgiveness. Kids get a bad rap sometimes, but today I was reminded just how incredible our future generation is. Today I experienced impromptu student awesomeness.
Today was the day our 5th graders officially recorded their mile run times as part of California’s physical fitness assessment required of all grade 5 students. They’ve been training all year, spending the first part of each day out on the track building up their stamina, working up to today’s run.
Soon after the bell rang to start the day, I needed to relay a message to one of our 5th grade teachers so I headed out to the field. As I approached, I heard a lot of noise coming from the students gathered on the grass. The closer I got, I realized the noise was cheering. Students cheering for each other.
When I arrived at the field, I observed the boys circling the track, pushing themselves to get their best times yet. And I watched and listened with pride as the girls cheered on their male classmates, filling their tanks with the fuel of encouragement.
“You cheering for the guys?” I asked a few girls as I walked past.
“Yep,” they responded, smiling.
Pretty cool, huh?
During lunch, I walked through the staff lounge and heard the 5th grade teachers talking about the mile run and its student cheering section.
“That was so cool!” I said. “Did the boys do the same thing for the girls?” I asked Mr. Walton, one of the teachers.
“You didn’t see what the boys did?” he asked. I hadn’t, as I had left the field before the girls began running.
Mr. Walton proceeded to tell me that not only did the boys enthusiastically applaud for the girls with a variety of creative cheers, they made a tunnel with their arms for the girls to run through at the conclusion of their run. Mr. Walton said the girls in his class were so appreciative they gave the boys an extra cheer when they returned to the classroom.
But the best part? It was totally impromptu. No planning by the teachers. The students organized it all on their own. They displayed kindness, encouraging each other, not because they had to but because they wanted to. Mr. Walton got goosebumps telling the story. I got goosebumps listening to the story. I’m getting goosebumps again as I write this story.
Today our students displayed impromptu student awesomeness. Our future is in good hands.
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for over 20 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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