BloggingHello and welcome to Day Nine of our Challenge! Hope this finds you well, full of awesome ideas on how to make the world a better place, on how to help kids find their full potential, or at least how to make a quick and easy lunch! 🙂

My single word is two words: Try Hard

In our 8th grade class, we struggle with work, period. We struggle with work in class, we struggle with work at home, we struggle when we aren’t assessed well on work that doesn’t not reflect what we know. As a whole, the class is very intelligent, but the work ethic is not there. The idea of grit and resiliency, F.A.I.L. (First Attempt In Learning), all of those fun things in education right now, not really part of our 8th grade vocabulary.

But “try hard” is and it drives me crazy. Every time that we have a student who excels, “Oh, try hard.” Anyone we have a student who asks what they do better then next time, “Quit being a try hard.” Any time a student, through pure hard work and effort, is successful at a task that many others aren’t, you guessed it: “Try hard!”

Doing well in athletics? Nope, that’s hard work. Doing well in academic? Nope, you care too much, and it shows.

When did pushing yourself in all aspects of your life suddenly become a negative? Why should we not celebrate the accomplishments of those who are academically gifted? Why is try hard a negative thing?

I’m not sure, but each time I hear this term used, I call out the offender. I have to. If I didn’t, I’m giving power to that negative attitude in my room.Both of my daughters have been lumped into that category, for different reasons, but no one, for sure not the teacher’s kid, likes to be called that.

I have a solution? Nope. Until we start lifting up the intelligence the way we do with athletics, we’ll keep having problems. And as a teacher, that makes me sad and angry. We need to keep pounding on this idea that to not try is to be celebrated. We should be celebrating the accomplishments of EVERYONE who’s willing to put in the time and the effort (regardless of reward) to see their own success, where ever that is.

Success is defined differently for different people, but make no mistake, it needs to be valued, period.