Another school year has begun. I’m meeting new staff and students and seeing familiar faces. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. There have been times over the years when I’ve questioned why I do what I do. I have my why at the ready at all times. My students are my why.
It’s been said that if you know your why, you will be able to figure out the how. How will I schedule everyone? How will I meet all students’ needs? How will each student feel valued and accepted and safe? Lucky for me, I get to see and hear my why as I question myself. I can see and hear progress from students, teachers, and families. I can hear their how in their own strategy implementation. Helping my students become successful is the most rewarding experience I’ll ever have in my career. Once, one of my student’s parents found a list of personal heroes in my student’s jacket pocket. A list of people he admired and why. My name was at the bottom of the list next to a hyphen with one four-letter word beside it: “hero.”
This rocked my world and made me so unbelievably grateful. I now have a copy of the note on my personal bulletin board as a visual reminder of my why. I know I made a difference in that student, and others have expressed the same. Some students don’t share their feelings about me, but their success is all I need to see my why in them. Their efforts are a sight to behold.
It is one of my greatest joys to help my students discover their why. Why are they working in speech? Why is it important to them? Once we answer these questions together, they realize how much they are capable of and all that they can achieve through their own efforts. We go over our answers at the beginning of the school year so each student knows what they’re working towards. It sets the tone and expectation for the year and leaves room for the discussion of how to achieve our goals. We celebrate victories of all sizes on a daily basis and adjust our goals and strategies as needed.
My challenge to my readers this week is to find your why. It can be in regards to school, speech, the arts, sports, anything at all that is important to you. Dig deep and find the root of your why. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it. Set your goals and make your strategies and figure out your how. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you have your why. I can’t wait to read everyone’s responses in comments.
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP