What is Possible?

Sir Ken Robinson recently talked of “Promoting a Climate of Possibility” in education. That instantly made me think of the Seniors of 2013 and what is POSSIBLE for them?

Today was the last “regular” school day for the Class of 2013 at my school. It was a day of celebration (Senior Awards Assembly) and nostalgia. I am a principal who believes in finding a “silver lining” in every student; every senior left today with positive recognition of some kind. I remind my teachers that sadly this may be the last time an adult makes them feel special.

So what are the possibilities for this particular class of students? My students come from an extremely rural, poor, and isolated area in Arkansas and several of them will be the first from their family to graduate high school. Two years ago many of them told me they weren’t even sure if they cared about graduating.

Well…they are all graduating next week. In fact, two of them have completed over a semester of college just this school year through our new distance learning partnership and Advance Placement Credits (I am amazed by them!). Did I mention this semester of college was completely free? We have students accepted to college, trade school, and enlisted in the military. All of our students have “a plan” for their future that includes a way to pay for their education whether through scholarships, grants, or student loans.

So what is Possible for today’s students, not just at my school, but anywhere? ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING! Education is the key to all the possibilities in a students’ future. We as educators have to make that “key” accessible for all students. The relationships we build with our students as we are handing them this “key” will undoubtedly make the difference in what their future holds. With all the different variables in students’ lives today, teachers are the one constant that can make all things possible.

Will everything go as planned? Unfortunately no. The good news is, when it doesn’t, and these students need help, we are still going to be here to help them. Teaching is not an 8-3 job, it’s not even a K-12th grade job; It’s a lifetime job. When you have teachers in your corner cheering you on throughout your life…..Anything really is Possible.

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