I have written before about the importance of assemblies and the messages I try to give to our students and also our staff when I have the privilege of an audience with them for 20 minutes. In my latest assembly I began with the question ‘what have you done so far in your life that has made you feel proud?’ I assured students that I wouldn’t ask them to explain themselves, I simply wanted to give them an opportunity to reflect on the things they have done that they were proud of. After a minute or so of thinking time I asked them to raise their hand if they could think of something and without exception in each of the 5 House assemblies less than 10 students raised their hand. Surprised? Well I actually wasn’t, it seems that in this day and age our young people don’t always recognise when they have done something that they can feel a sense of achievement for. I then asked them to look at the slide below for a little inspiration.
In a time where our students are becoming more and more proud of their school community, I want them to become more and more proud of the influence they are having on the improvements at Ernesford Grange. Yes, the quality of teaching and learning is going from strength to strength, yes, the behaviour around the school and in lessons is unrecognisable from 2 years ago and the students can see this and will talk about this, yet they don’t seem to recognise their role in these positive improvements. Ernesford Grange is becoming excellent because of them, the students, the reason we are all here.
It seems there is something of a stigma around admitting you are proud of your achievements, it is almost seen as arrogance or un-cool to be proud and I want to eradicate that. I want every one of our young people to be proud of what they are achieving both within and outside of school, I want them to see the significance of a simple of act of kindness for example or for a show of determination where they have really struggled with a piece of homework but haven’t given up and instead made mistakes and learnt from them.
I went on to talk to them about the slide below, which are many of the things I am proud of. My parents of whom I am immensely proud, who have instilled within me respect for all, determination to achieve whatever I set my mind to and who have always believed in me no matter what. The staff of Ernesford Grange who work tirelessly to continually improve their own practice to ensure we are giving our students the very best education. The students, of whom I am incredibly proud every time I walk into a classroom and see them working or simply socialising with maturity at break or lunch. I want all of these people to be genuinely proud of what they have already achieved and what they will go on to achieve in the future.
My take-away message was this; take time to reflect on what you have achieved, where you have come from, the struggles you have had and the resilience you have shown. A sense of pride leads to a sense of belief and if you can’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to believe in you?
One of our job as educators is to not only believe in every young person but perhaps more importantly, to make sure that every young person knows that we believe in them, only then can we expect them to start believing in themselves and be prepared to become the leaders of the future.