Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The One Where You Get an A #SOL15

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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I'm an optimist...and proud of it actually. I do pretty well living in my little happy bubble but I've noticed that my bubble gets squeezed and sometimes needs to be re-inflated depending on how much stress I'm dealing with. As I was reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander yesterday, one particular chapter really spoke to me. It was about how we measure ourselves based on subjective metrics. Instead, the authors suggest we practice giving an A. We can give ourselves an A or we can give others an A. What if we gave all our students A's right from the beginning?

Benjamin Zander did just this with one of his classes. He gave them all A's from the outset of class but he asked them to write a letter outlining everything they were going to do to earn that A - pretending as if they were writing it already looking back at all that they had accomplished during the class.

He writes, "An A can be given to anyone in any walk of life - to a waitress, to your employer, to your mother-in-law, to the members of the opposite team, and to the other drivers in traffic. When you give an A, you find yourself speaking to people not from a place of measuring how they stack up against your standards, but from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves...This A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into."

Later in the chapter, he writes, "As soon as you have the grace to give people A's, all sorts of things are revealed that were as though hidden behind a veil."
I had a few ideas about how to focus on grace this year but I think this is where I'm going to start. Giving myself an A - when I do something new or when I do something hard - but also giving others A's and letting go of comparing or judging. Breaking free from expectations and struggling to be enough or as much or all feel like a relief. It means exhaling and just being.

Have the grace to give people A's.

To me, this is truly living the growth mindset because if you know that you already get an A, that you already win, that there is no such thing as failure, it's much easier to take risks and to accept yourself. I think this would be pretty freeing for a student and that it would be a relief to know that the outcome has already been decided. I can see how it might even empower students to want to live up to that A even more. 

What do you think? 
How might you give yourself an A? 
What opportunities do you have to give others an A?
If you try it, how does it feel?

Thanks for reading!
You get an A!

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