3 Important Questions Regarding “Success” in Schools

This article, “9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life in 9 Short Days,” has some excellent advice that could benefit many, educators and students alike.  The first paragraphs on “success” struck me:

Successful people live by a different set of rules. Collecting accolades, reaching the top of the corporate ladder, or acquiring riches isn’t as important as having a calling, pursuing a dream, and changing lives.

Successful people inspired by a mission strive to leave behind a legacy. Fair warning, though: When all is said and done, it’s really not about you. It took years for me to develop the understanding that life is about giving, service, and meaningful relationships.

As an adult, your version of what “success” looks like could and should be different from mine.  But how “success” is often portrayed in society, can send a message to students that their success is not as valuable as the success of someone else.

Thinking about “success” and what it means in connection to schools and education, here are some questions that I have been wrestling with

  1. Do we have continuous conversations with students about what they believe “success” is or is it defined and planned out for them?  How do we ensure students are in on the conversation regarding “success?”
  2. When we talk about a “successful” school, how is that portrayed in our communication with communities past “grades and scores?”
  3. Is the success of the school more about what the adults deem as “success” and a measure of their work as opposed to what the students do, create, and act?

From my travels, I have seen more schools, classrooms, and teachers, help students understand and strive for success that is based more on “purpose” rather than basing it on extrinsic value. I appreciate when those conversations are had because it helps students feel valued and that although paths can be different, they can still have tremendous value to ourselves as individuals.

This is important to note…Adults are there to help students and the conversation regarding success is something we can help guide our students on. But, excluding them (students) from the discussion is not helpful now or in the future.

Source: George Couros