Category Archives: change

Maintain or move forward…you decide

There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them.
-Denis Waitley

I love the simplicity of this quote – either accept how things are or decide to make a change. Accept the status quo, or move beyond. Sit back and take life as it comes, or grab it by the horns and make positive change.

I have spent the past few years of my teaching career not only deciding to make change, but also transforming my classroom into a learning environment conducive to growth and collaboration. This has been no simple task however. It is difficult to make the choice each day to think outside of the box and challenge my learning so I can do the same for my students. Beyond making the decision, it is even more difficult to follow through and take action. But this is where we hit the sweet spot in learning and growth. It is that uncomfortable place when we try something new, extend our minds just a little further, and move beyond fear to take action where learning goes to the next level.

The quote also speaks to accepting responsibility. It implies a moral imperative to change things for the better. This is a value that I want to instill in all my students. I want them to continually seek knowledge, grow throughout their lives, and leave a positive impact on the world in their own special way. I want them to accept responsibility for the world in which they dwell, and choose to make it great.

As I said above, this is no easy undertaking. Some days, it takes every ounce of my energy to accept responsibility for making my classroom all it can be. And there are days…you know the days. Those days when you leave school and know your best was maintaining that status quo. On those days you feel badly, but I want to ask you to stop. I have those days too, we all do. The fact that you recognize when you have them and commit to making a change the next day is so powerful and commendable. The fact that we can accept responsibility for all our days, both the good and the bad, is also part of what this quote encompasses.

So go out without fear. Take the good days along with the bad, but make the commitment to transform this world for the better. Don’t accept things as they are, make the choice to grow, learn, and improve even when it is scary, difficult, or seems impossible. Grab life (and learning) by the horns and make the change!


You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-Mahatma Gandhi

The change within

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”-Viktor Frankl


One of the most difficult, yet very important lessons we can teach our students is how to handle adversity. All too often kids learn to quit when they are down and when something doesn’t work the first time, that it won’t in the future. Is this the message we want to send? That one try at something is enough? That when you feel like quitting it is acceptable to do so?

No.

I believe that sometimes we miss the message that the quote speaks to above. That when we cannot change the situation, we must adapt ourselves and find the path to success no matter the obstacle. I am not arguing that we lose ourselves, morals, values or judgement along the way. But our students need to know that they can manage varied situations.  We do not always have control over our situation, but we control our response. We can find success in a variety of ways, and sometimes it takes quite a few tries to realize our goals. We can take a time when things are not ideal, and persevere to achieve rather than make excuses for why things did not go as planned.

This quote also speaks to the fact that it is a challenge to change ourselves…to adapt. This is no easy feat, and students need support to figure out what changes need to be made. We as lead learners must model how to handle adversity to guide and inspire our students to try it for themselves.

Challenging adversity and adapting ourselves to find success pushes our boundaries as people.  It is an exhausting experience, but builds strength and confidence. I believe that once our students rise to a challenge presented and triumph, they realize that the only person standing in the way of their success is the one that looks back at them in the mirror.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”-George Bernard Shaw