Thursday, June 21, 2018

Be YOUR Best

During the conclusion of one of our Final Exam days, I had a student come seek me out.  This was a student who I have developed a very good relationship with and, as a result, have been able to engage in very candid dialogue with throughout the year.

The student asked me, "Mr. Smith, what will it take for me to elevate to the level of [student name - a Senior]?"

I stopped the student immediately, looked at him directly in the eyes and intensely said, "You need to stop trying to compare yourself to anyone else and focus on being the best version of you."

The previous summer, primarily as a result of attending the National Principal's Conference in Philadelphia and experiencing somewhat of a professional rejuvenation, I wanted to put tremendous emphasis for our stakeholders to focus on a relatively simple idea:  

I routinely communicated this mantra to our students, faculty, staff, parents, and community.  I reminded students to never worry about "anyone else's best."

Throughout our beginning of year grade-level meetings, I discussed how "Being your best" has absolutely nothing with being perfect.  I made an intentional effort to continuously remind our students to "Be your best today." when they entered the building or during class change. 

It even resulted in an artistic gift from a student for my office:

Some of our faculty probably got a little exhausted of seeing it included in every Weekly Agenda Friday email or seeing it displayed during our Faculty Meetings.  The expectations for our students should align with the expectations we have for ourselves as educators.

Yet, there was another situation at the latter stages of the school year that made a considerable impression on me.

Our interview team was wrapping up a very successful interview for a teaching position.  The team consisted of our Assistant Principal and two teachers from the respective department.  We gave the candidate the opportunity to ask us any questions they may have.  The candidate asked what my expectations were for our faculty.  One of the teacher immediately responded, "That's easy..."

"We're expected to be our best." 

We can't ask for anything else.

Thank you for viewing,


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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