The Balance Between Struggling and Developing Strengths

Image result for “Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”

I thought about this quote a lot this past week in connection to education as I listened to a powerful student speech where they encouraged their teachers not to have them conform into a specific “box” but help them bring out their talents while finding their path.  It received a well-deserved standing ovation, not only for the call-to-action but more importantly, the recognition of teachers in the room that were already creating the conditions where the student felt this was happening in their school.

I believe that helping students find their strengths is so crucial, but I also know that does not exclude students learning things that may not interest in the time.  There were times as a kid that I was pushed to learn Greek or play piano and I fought back hard, but now wish I could do both. In the process of learning things that we may not enjoy, we may find our strengths and passions.

Quick thoughts and a question:

1. School should be a place where we help students bring out their talents and empower them to find their own path.

2. Learning is not always “fun” but if you focus on the first point, more value can often be recognized in the hard stuff.

3. How do we move from a system of education that teaches way too many things to all students, where in many ways they will not be applicable to all students in the future? There are obviously some things that ALL students need to know, but ALL students do not necessarily need to know all the same things.

Writing this post is causing more confusion for myself than clarity, but I think that is the point.  As educators, it is not only beneficial but necessary that we wrestle with these ideas openly.  That is part of the learning that is necessary for growth as individuals and organizations.

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