As a lifelong educator, researcher on resiliency development, empowerer of humans, and believer in the power of resiliency, I sugest that when we speak of “Grit” we must consider that it is our collective responsibility to strive at all levels of our educational communities to provide environments for students that are calm, supportive, encouraging, thoughtful, and planned, which provide opportunities for students to ignite their latent capabilities to be resilient.
I have begun to bring forth the conceptual idea of “Transformational Resiliency” which denotes just this, a purposefully designed environment where students are afforded the opportunities to be resilient, develop responsibility, and build positive relationships with others. When we as educators come to understand that it is a moral imperative to provide students with such environments we have taken the first step towards transforming each teaching opportunity. When we decide that it is important for us to expect and provide each and every teacher with the tools to craft these types of environments we further the notion of not only equity for students, but our belief that above teaching students, we are teaching human beings.
Some might argue that this is an impossible task, however, I would argue that this task is absolutely achievable, and in fact, is an absolute necessity in order for our students to actually develop, grow in peace, and enhance their personal abilities and capabilities. We must remember, for so many children who have experienced trauma, live in difficult family situations, or are marginalized by poverty, etc., we must understand that they are more than likely not lacking “grit,” Children who have survived so many difficulties, who persevere each day, who actually make it to their classrooms actually may have more internal “grit” than most.
We must consider that It could be that these children actually have developed a very strong internal level of grit which has helped them to survive, yet may not have had an opportunity to tap their latent resiliency, to the degree that we would like to see.
I put forward the notion that no matter the socio-economic situation a school is located, no matter the content area of the teacher, no matter the life circumstances of the family that a child belongs to, and no matter the grade level or age of the child, it is absolutely essential for a teacher, all teachers, to consider the social-emotional health of his or her students, and then plan accordingly to indeed provide high rigor in the area of content development, and more importantly remember that one of the more important goals for each day’s lesson would be to focus on developing a student’s wellness to become a healthy human being.
As we strive to connect with students, we must strive to connect with their families. As we strive to support our students growth, we must recognize that it is first our growth that is important in structuring environments that are conducive to their success. As we strive to develop “Grit” in students, we must recognize that some of our children are actually “Grittier” than we can every imagine. As we strive to act to implement “Transformational Resiliency,” we must consider that as we ignite a student’s ability to be resilient they just might be overcoming adversities we have yet to see.
We can do this, together. We can assist all children to “Grow in Peace!”