On Family Day, I had occasion to watch some of the Olympics (finally!!) with family. As always, I was intrigued not by the events themselves, but by the stories behind them. To me, the competitions pale in the light of the featured biographies of athletes – their thoughts about the competition, their training, their commitment to put their passion into practice. I love the news features about the culture of the host countries. I look for those tiny news blurbs when a broken ski is replaced by a coach so a competitor can finish, or the winner of a long distance event staying hours at the course to welcome the single competitor as he crosses the finish line when no one believed he could finish at all.
It is these moments of excellence of character that remind me of the challenges that we, as educators, face today. Often we believe that we are not doing anything special, that our creativity in meeting the needs of our students is nothing spectacular. We adapt our methods so specific learning styles can be addressed, We look for content that just might engage that one child who seems so disinterested in life (let alone learning). We are committed to reaching those children who believe that nothing they do is of value because we want them to understand that we value them, not what they do.
So…. as Olympians are recognized for their excellence in the field of athletics, let’s look for our own champions and give them the recognition they deserve. Who among your staff can be acknowledged for excellence in teaching, in learning, in caring? Who do you know that demonstrates their commitment to excellence? Who are your leaders? I challenge you to seek them out, acknowledge them, congratulate them and sing their praises to world. Let’s celebrate together!