Bird Droppings September 2, 2010
Progress and Success
“Most of the people we call successful are not twice as smart, or twice as able, as the rest of the field. Indeed, if they are only 10 percent more proficient, this is generally more than enough to give them a consistent edge.” Sydney J. Harris, Strictly Personal
One of those moments that make teaching worth while happened a few days back. I was going over grades that students were getting on progress reports. I have a graphic organizer for Learning Focus School folks that essentially explains the students grades. Each student lists their grades and classes and why they have that grade and what can they do different to better it. One student who last year had failed nearly every class had all A’s and was on cloud nine. But what can you do to keep it up and even do better was my question? As I read Harris’s comment this morning often it is not a great deal more just a little bit and so many times people choose to not do it. I am passing that’s all that matters and a tad bit more effort would be an A.
“A young person, to achieve, must first get out of his mind any notion either of the ease or rapidity of success. Nothing ever just happens in this world.” Edward William Bok
“The road to success runs uphill.” Willie Davis
It does take more to be successful than to simply pass or be average. Some are content as I hear every day I am passing that is all that matters. But really are they happy just passing. For that moment that brief second of not doing that extra bit to get an A maybe they are but in the end as they see jobs and dollars lessen because an employer doesn’t just want average when great is available.
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.” John Foster Dulles
“Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.” T. S. Elliot
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have used Emerson’s definition of success many times in class and in Bird Droppings and each time it is so much more true. Success is relative it is going that bit further than what is expected and what may be even more than you thought possible when started. It is sorting out the debris cleaning up the mess we make as Elliot states.
“When I am delivering my very best, then that is when I feel successful.” Art Fettig
“It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.” Harvey S. Firestone
So often it is in comparison we see success and in competition we see success. As I sat here thinking can we be successful within our own right by ourselves and I look back at Emerson’s definition which is a self fulfilling success.
“Successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing those things that failures don’t like to do.” Albert Gray
“Strategy is a style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of insuring future success.” Pete Johnson
Back a few weeks I mentioned my philosophy of filling a liter bottle. The strategy is teaching the way to more so than details teaching where to find and how to in stead of a thousand answers. When we only have a liter and we have three gallons of information what goes in has to be special. Learning strategies that style of thinking, that process and implementation system as Johnson says. Several years back I would study for tests on the way to Athens a 45 minutes drive using key thoughts rather than details.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” Colin Powell
Hopefully when we give out progress reports in a few weeks it will be a point of reference not a destination for students and parents and we can build on that rather than tear down. So for this day ahead please keep al in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
Bird Droppings September 2, 2010