By Joseph E. Powers, The Woods Academy, Head of School
“To live in places filled with yet.” These are the final words of Carol Dweck’s 2014 TEDx talk in Sweden. Almost everything we do in school is measured and quantified. The end of the year means outputs like final grades and standardized test score assessment. Performance is measured everywhere, from school to sports (baseball has a metric for EVERYTHING). I will admit, I have become somewhat of a numbers “geek” and enjoy the analysis. It helps tell the story and is extremely useful for planning purposes, however, numbers can’t tell the whole story.
The end of the school year always brings some good quality reflection time. There is a great deal of qualitative data that comes from this reflection. Stories from the year are remembered and reflected upon. Some very personal. Some include failures. Some celebrate triumphs. All remind me that nothing is ever finished when you are working in schools. A report card and a standardized test are just a snapshot of where you are now, as opposed to being seen as documentation of a finished product. Yes, the end of a school year brings with it closure, but it must equally be seen as a window to “yet.”
Yet implies that there is more to come. Yet means there is more work to be done. Yet, is essential for growth. Schools are in the business of growing human capital and we must operate with the belief that nothing is fixed in the mind or body of a child (or an adult for that matter).
I just re-listened to Carol Dweck’s Tedx talk, linked above, as I begin the process of reflecting back on the year. Take a listen if you have a chance. Dweck is one of my favorites and she helps me get focused on what is important. I can also now say that she and I have something in common. We both gave Ted Talks in the past year. I hope to get my TEDxStoneRidgeSchool talk up later this summer. I am no Dweck, but I can at least say we have both shared “ideas worth spreading.” May your summer be filled with popsicles, pools, family, fun, dreaming, growth and more “Yet” to come.