Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning psychologist and economist said, “Optimists are normally cheerful and happy . . . they are resilient in adapting to failures and hardships” (Thinking, Fast and Slow, 2011). Today, more than ever, we need more optimists in education. We need these people to take on the myriad of challenges facing schools today.
Our best educators are, by nature, optimistic. Education requires a series of optimistic core beliefs – we are making a difference, we are shaping the future and we are preparing students for tomorrow through our efforts today.
Think back on the best teachers you had in school; these people were happy and enthusiastic. Optimistic teachers set high standards, knowing you will reach them. They provide instruction and support, knowing it will help you reach your full potential. Optimistic teachers work countless hours grading papers, providing feedback, and encouraging understanding, knowing that each and every comment is a sign of care and commitment to your education. Kahneman shares, “Optimistic individuals play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives.” Clearly, optimistic teachers shape the future.
One of my mentors as a school administrator often asked me, “What do you believe in your heart of hearts? In your soul of souls?” I trust this is where the true optimist is found. From a personal and professional perspective, I believe education is the “silver bullet” for securing a brighter future.
For me, education is what will continue to insure that each generation of Americans will have the opportunity to lead the world. This doesn’t mean it will be easy – nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It doesn’t mean everyone will agree on how we educate. Of course there is disagreement; every child is different and has different needs. We have mountains to climb and battles to wage, but in my heart of heart and soul of souls failure is not an option. We will succeed so that students are Ready For Tomorrow!