Fortunate is an understatement to how it felt to be able to attend my third National Summer Institute (NSI). It is invigorating to hear relevant and knowledgable speakers, attend professional development that I can take right into my classroom and put to work, as well as meet amazing READ 180 and System 44 teachers and staff from around the country. I use a wide variety of motivators in my classroom and I am sure it is because I appreciate being motivated. I knew I could count on some great motivation from NSI and I was not disappointed.
One of my most favorite speakers at NSI was Phyllis C. Hunter. She was an exciting speaker, who motivated me greatly. We hear over and over that a good teacher is enthusiastic about what they do and that students know when a teacher is excited about their subject. I have zero doubt that Phyllis Hunter is excited about helping teachers understand how they can maximize their students' success in reading.
Phyllis specifically talked about the concept of "Grit" and implored us to watch a TED Talk on YouTube by Angela Lee Duckworth, "The key to success? Grit". I have often wondered what the difference is in my students who are so close to being a proficient reader and those that had a LONG ways to go. Many times the ones who were close struggled significantly to close the gap, while those who had the longest journey flourished to success.
Phyllis struck a chord with me when she shared, "GOOD won't do, when GREAT is possible." Since NSI, I have enjoyed reading Phyllis' book, It's Not Complicated! I love the rich experiences and research that Phyllis shares including the no apologies way she advocated for the importance of reading for the future success of her students. This would be an excellent book to help you start your year off with maximum motivation. Also, here are just a few of the thought provoking things I have subsequently found about Grit.
Edutopia: Resilience and Grit: Resource Roundup
Scholastic's Administrator Magazine Article: Angela Duckworth on Teaching "Grit" as a Path to Student Success