Resilience, Character, & Seeing Schools as a Collection of Classrooms


The idea for this post came from veroskk’s post, “Cheesyness, Culture, and Calculators.” She is a young science teacher in the Mississippi Delta whose vision for her classroom’s culture this year is:

“Students leave my classroom with the confidence to follow their dreams; the courage to fail, get up, and try again; the compassion to support and love others; and the creativity to think critically and solve problems.”

She says this vision was inspired by this picture (thanks @douglaskarr).fail-to-win

What a great vision. And, all over this country, individual teachers are working toward similar visions within their classrooms. However, those of us here at Smart Strengths would love to see these teachers supported with training in the science and applications we cover in Smart Strengths. Even more, we would love for them to be working within a school context where their individual classroom efforts to help students were part of a coherent strategy within the school.

Specifically, I cannot help but wonder how her efforts this year would go if she were part of a faculty that shared an understanding of

  • Optimistic Thinking and Growth Mindsets – both the components and ways to help students master these approaches
  • Character Strengths – how to help each student identify his or her particular pattern (which might or might not include Courage and Creativity) of the 24 universal character strengths and then learn to use those strengths, individually and as part of teams, to accomplish goals in life, including academic achievement
  • Relationships – resilience is a team effort – the “courage to fail, get up, and try again” is greatly enhanced by strong connections; the ability “to support and love others” is enhanced by optimistic thinking, a growth mindset, and by knowledge, acceptance, and skill in a personal pattern of character strengths
  • Appreciative Stance – how to solve problems and build success by focusing on what’s working.

We so appreciate what this teacher and so many others like her are doing in individual classrooms. And we so much want to see more such wonderful teachers working in environments with coherent, contagious cultures of strengths, growth, optimism, relationships and appreciation.

If you’ve got a similar vision for your classroom, or a link to a post where a teacher has published such a vision, please share it, either here or on Facebook. And, if you happen to be part of a school where your vision is supported with science-based approaches to these topics, we’d love to hear about that, also! If you’d like some tips on how to work with SMART Strengths in your school or classroom, sign up for our almost-weekly newsletter!

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