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Recently, I have been thinking a lot about growth mindset. Being the topic of the latest Google EDU newsletter and a recent SAVMP prompt, I couldn’t help but to reflect on my own mindset. When I was a kid, my dad used to take me on long rides in the country. He would talk to me about how much of a class clown he was as a youngster and how he never really cared about school. He used to tell me that education was the key to success, that being smart was cool, and that I could do anything I put my mind to if I worked hard. In a sense, my dad was growing my mindset from a young age.
I carry his words with me everyday. It has always been a dream of mine to design and build my dream house in the woods. A few years after my future husband and I met, I mentioned my goal to him. His first reaction was to dismiss my dream as unrealistic. Sure it was a stretch and I knew it would take discipline, but I was willing to put in the hard work. At the time, my husband’s mindset was fixed. In his world, my goal was unattainable. However, after some long discussions and additional planning, I convinced him that there was no reason why we couldn’t build our dream home. I was growing my husband’s mindset just as my father had grown mine as a young child.
In my career, I have seen every opportunity as a learning experience. In order to stay current and relevant, I need to take advantage of new experiences and step out of my box. A few months ago, I stepped into a new position as an assistant principal of a high school. Soon after beginning, I thought to myself, “What do I need to do differently now that I am an assistant principal?”. Obviously, I needed to do a lot of things differently, but most importantly, I need to focus on growing mindsets.
My experiences have shown me that growth mindsets are contagious, so how do I grow the mindsets of the students and staff that I work with? Here are some of my ideas:
- Set and communicate lofty but realistic goals for those in the school
- Avoid thinking that our school is an island and seek to build connections throughout the community and world
- Consider every new opportunity and experience because you never know where it may take you
- Communicate that even the best students and staff members have room to grow. Those who take offense to this statement need to consider their own mindsets.
What are some other ways that I can continue to grow my mindset and the mindsets of those around me?