Hope

So a very good friend of mine is thinking about changing jobs….maybe even careers. He’s come to the sad conclusion that the hope that he had in his organization’s ability to do the right thing, and to lead with a sense of moral purpose is now gone. We got talking about this idea of “hope”, and the necessary role it plays in our lives as we look for inspiration and reward in all that we do. It became clear to both of us that hope is what drives us all to be better, and it inspires us all to be difference makers in the lives of others. Without that sense of hope there is no vision of what’s possible, and the seemingly unattainable goals that we set for ourselves, our students, and our world are just that…..unattainable…..so why even bother?

Hope is typically defined as the looking forward to something with confidence or expectation, but for many it’s way, way more that that. Hope for some people can be a lifeline, the light at the end of a dark tunnel, that needle in a haystack, or the only thing left when you feel as though everything is lost. If you think about it, hope might just be the most important word in the English language because without it, we’d never ever move forward. For quality educators, hope is tied to almost everything that we do, throughout every day of our teaching lives. Think about all the things that you hope for with your students, your colleagues, and your school as the kids begin to arrive in the morning. If you’re like me, you hope that all the hard work that we’ve put into creating a wonderful community and culture for students translates into learning. You also hope that the decisions that are made (which are sometimes out of your control) are made through the lens of what’s best for kids, student learning, and our community. You hope to be inspired by the people around you, and you hope that you can affect some sort of positive change……..hope is what transforms good schools into great schools, and hope is what drives you to be the best educator that you can be.

A few months ago I attended an amazing workshop put on by Alan November. Much of what he was discussing revolved around leadership, as well as the components of quality teaching. He suggested that the three most important attributes of all successful leaders are energy, enthusiasm, and hope. I thought about the kind of energy and enthusiasm that I was bringing to my job, and I wondered about how hopeful I was…….the great thing about this suggestion is that these three attributes are all things that we can control! I want to ask you all this week to think about that word…..hope…..and to let it shine through in all that you do, particularly when dealing with your students. The greatest message that we can deliver to our kids is that we are hopeful for them as learners. They need to know that we’ll never give up hope that they can become the person of their dreams, and we have to instill that hope in them. I’m hopeful for the future of our kids, and I’m hopeful that we can bring our Middle School fairy tale to life…….and I hope you are too. Have a great week everyone and remember to be hopeful for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week…….
The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof – Barbara Kingsolver

Attachment #1 Hope in Education PDF Hope in Leadership

TED Talk #1  – Use Data to Build Better Schools (Andreas Schleicher)
http://www.ted.com/talks/andreas_schleicher_use_data_to_build_better_schools.html
TED Talk #2 – Hope (Sherwin Nuland)
http://www.ted.com/talks/sherwin_nuland_on_hope.html

Alan November’s Professional Website
http://novemberlearning.com/

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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