When teachers and administrators prepare for a new school year there is always a combination of excitement and anxiety. The excitement comes from knowing the success of the year is often determined by attitude. A positive attitude tends to rub off on students and they catch the teacher's enthusiasm and love of learning. If a teacher loves to teach, then happy teachers leads to happy students. It sounds simple and when the perfect formula of happiness and contentment is dialed up on the first day of school the results are magic.
If only it was that simple, but unfortunately we aren't made of sugar and spice, and everything nice. Mixed with our excitement comes anxiety about who we are, and how we fit into the community we meet on the first day of school. Students, teachers, parents, and administrators all move out of the lazy days of summer into the structured days of class discussions, recess games, and homeroom. The anxiety of early morning alarms and forgotten assignments due to rushing or over-scheduled days challenge our new school year dreams of perfection.
So how do we calmly make the transition assuring that the excitement isn't lost with the usual anxiety and newness of a school year? In a recent article titled, "How to Raise Brilliant Children," the question is raised around what parents need to know about cultivating skills in their kids to help them succeed. For most parents the answer to this question might be high test scores or great athletic ability. Yet as mentioned above, a perfect formula for happiness also doesn't exist for student success. Like all great things we want to achieve, it takes hard work and deep thinking.
So what are the skills that lead to success? Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, author of the book, "Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children," seems to believe they are found in the six C's. Collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence. We need to collaborate to build community. We need to read, write, and speak well. We need to understand language. We need to listen to information and then decide what it means. We need to know things well so we can spend time using it. Finally, we have to confidently take risks with the information we learn.
After reading about the six C's they sound strikingly similar to the five Goals of Sacred Heart education. We welcome boys back after a lazy summer and gather them together so they can pray together. We challenge their minds with critical texts and assignments. We encourage them to serve each other before themselves, and we ask them to collaborate within a supportive community. If all goes well, we see them grow before our eyes as they test the limits of their freedom.
As Regis boys walk through the doors on the first day of the new school year we want all the boys to become brilliant. Our challenge is to convince them that they are more than capable of being brilliant. To all who ask, "Can Regis Boys Be Brilliant?" I say yes, and welcome to a new school year.