We want our students to be the kind of leaders that are not afraid of things getting tough. We want them to be the ones that stay focused and execute their goals without being deterred. We want our students to believe, "you can do anything if you put your mind to it." It sounds cliche but at the end of the day, don't we want them to believe this? I mean, if they do believe it, then they are headed for a life of success right? But I think there is one problem with this notion in education. We never teach our students how to specifically, "put their mind to it."
How do you teach students to "put their mind to it?" It starts with setting the example. Putting your mind to it means having a positive outlook on all things. We need to teach young people that situations and events out of our control will happen consistently throughout their lives. But the outcome of those events is up to us and how we respond. Essentially, "putting our mind to it" is preparing ourselves to stay on track towards our mission regardless of the events that happen along the way. This mindset prepares us for challenges, mistakes, mishaps, accidents, and natural disasters. Because our minds are set on the end goal rather than the things that happen in between.
How is this taught in the classroom? This is taught through inquiry, feedback, and encouragement. We cannot have classrooms in which there is always one answer and the first person to raise their hand is the one who has it. We have to design our lessons to encourage students to ask questions, organize their thoughts, collaborate with others, and reflect on their performance. these tools help students develop skills that will enable them to "put their mind to it" because they will know how to overcome obstacles as they come. If our classes are "one answer" classes, then students will be tempted to stop their journey once they don't know the answer. Not our students. Our students will expect the challenges obstacles and immediately implement their strategies to get past them.
We inadvertently teach students not to "put their mind to it" all of the time. When we respond to something negatively, lose control of our emotions, complain, become lazy, or prepare a lackluster lesson, we are showing our students that we are "not putting our mind to it." Success comes from the ability to capitalize on mistakes and be unrelenting in our quest to accomplish our goals. We have to teach students that mindset on a daily basis. And we have to tell them that we are teaching them that. Because negative adults who think that things "happen" to them to put them in their current position are not the kind of adults that we want our students to emulate.
We need to start teaching our students to put their mind to it! Leading is Teaching.