Monday, September 2, 2013

Finding Super

Who is the best Superhero? All have value (though the Wonder Twin who could only turn into something with water could be argued) and would be welcomed in a time of need.There is a case to be made that superheros should be placed in two separate categories...those who have innate powers and those who help based on external means.  Superman-innate power.  He comes here from a different planet, can fly, does that thing with the eyes where he burns through things, relatively muscular...all powers that were part of the genetic makeup.  Batman-external means. Cool toys, awesome car, a belt that apparently never runs out of stuff. Spiderman-external means. Bug bite and the rest is history.

A few months ago a group of teachers at a conference saw someone wearing a shirt that said…."I teach.  What is your superpower?"  Within minutes I received texts from the group letting me know that we needed to have these for our staff members.  I loved the idea and when staff came back to school this year they all received a shirt with FC on the front and the saying on the back. The best part about the roll out for me was that everyone got a shirt…custodians, cooks, bus drivers, teachers, support staff, administrators…everyone.  I think some people could look at the shirt and think it is not for them because they don't have a classroom.  The bottom line is this…everyone teaches.  Everyone.  From the minute our community walks in the building to the time they walk out they encounter a crazy number of people.  We all have the ability and responsibility to teach.  We teach enthusiasm.  We teach responsibility.  We teach welcoming.  We teach perseverance.  We teach through our actions.  We want to be the most family friendly building ever…and in doing this our actions model what we want out of the FC school district.  Most importantly, we teach kids how to find their superpower.

Throughout the course of a day, a student in our school will see anywhere between 5-10 adults.  That number could easily be on the low side.  I am accounting for different classes, lunch, recess, specials, custodians…but there could certainly be more.  Can you imagine being a student in our school and knowing that EVERYWHERE you walked there was someone who wanted you to succeed?  If kids have a connection to one adult in school they tend to come back…what if they had a connection to everyone in the school?  Possibilities are limitless.  

We have an opportunity every day to find something in a child that they didn't know they had. We have the opportunity to allow students to learn at their level and with their interests in mind. We have an opportunity to engage children at their level and help them want to learn more.  Superheroes tend to fly in at the last minute and save the day.  We are asking our group to flip that concept…you don't have to be a superhero…you have to find them.  Everyone has "super" in them.  Being “super” is not limited to race, socioeconomic status, or gender.  It is only limited by confidence.  If we can find a way to instill confidence and allow students to find their "super",  there is literally no end to what they can do.  Students will accomplish at high levels if they feel they can and if they are engaged in the process.  How many times do you hear of a kid refusing to play a video game because it is too hard.  They simply don't…they keep struggling and failing until they succeed because they are engaged and challenged by the process. They like to play, even though it doesn’t always yield success. They don’t shut down if they get a bad score or if it takes them seemingly forever to pass a level.

Finding "super" in a student starts with a conversation and a commitment to ensure that relationships rule.  They will believe in themselves if we believe in what they can do...authentically.  One of the best parts of school is a fresh start for both students and teachers.  The conversations we have with students in the first 2 weeks will set the stage for how engaged they will be in our school.  The gifts that kids have don't come from a belt or a bite.  Their gifts come from knowing that someone in school is there to support, guide, and challenge them in a place where they feel safe. the school year gets rolling, I wish everyone a great start and best of luck finding the “super” in every student.  If we’re always looking, it will be easy to find.  Go Crickets.

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