Sitting at my desk yesterday, I watched the class working. As we approach the halfway point of the school year, and we get to know each other fairly well (Yes, students figure out the teacher every bit, if not more, than the teacher figures out students.), I started thinking about what lies ahead for this class. We all know, whether you are a teacher or a student, certain behaviors determine success. How do you stack up?
Do you accept new challenges and/or change? Especially in today's world, the need to adapt to new circumstances and situations is necessary. Although education moves more slowly than much of the world, a lot of today's classrooms look much different than 20 years ago. Emerging technologies is just one factor that is changing schools and lives in general.
Do you accept criticism? Nobody likes to be told what they are doing wrong. When someone points out a problem, our first response is to become defensive. The ability to overcome this is what determines the level of success. After all, if it wasn't a problem that you need to overcome, why would anyone take the time to point it out?
Do you work hard, even when the task is boring or one you don't necessarily care about? It's a fact of life. School is boring sometimes. Jobs are boring sometimes. In school you have to do things you don't want to do. At work, you have to do things you don't want to do. Pushing ahead with consistent effort is necessary regardless of the task. After all, anyone can work hard if they are doing something they like. Working hard all of the time is the difference maker.
Do you respect everyone? Treating friends with kindness and respect is easy. Treating someone we don't like the same as a friend is the challenge. If a teacher you don't like talks to you, listening and doing what she says may be more of a challenge. But, not respecting her is more of a reflection on you, and affects you, much more than it does her. An unpopular person may be much harder to treat fairly, but the rewards are greater.
Do you complete what you start? Taking responsibility to see projects through is not always fun. The beginning of anything is usually easier than finishing in style. After all, nobody wins the race at the starting line, and the last lap is always the hardest. Success demands having the determination to finish what you start.
Does success matter? Having a plan and setting goals are just part of being successful. You must have the drive to do well. You must think about being successful, and consider what is needed to achieve success. This can't be something brought on by others. You must have the inner drive to succeed.
As I look at this list, I am not sure how I stack up. Whether you are the teacher or a student, living by this list is a challenge. What do you think? Do you have what it takes? Are you OK?
Photo from http://flickr.com/people/wasabicube/