Nobody would have thought at the beginning of the NCAA basketball season that the Butler Bulldogs and Virginia Commonwealth University would be in the Final Four. However, perseverance, diligence, and a lot of hard work have landed these teams in the final four, and one of them will play for the National Championship. Two true Cinderella stories will have the season of a lifetime.
There is really no substitute for hard work and discipline. We always like to see the underdog go further than expected, but what makes them underdogs? I have been a bandwagon Jayhawk fan but I was definitely pulling for VCU on Sunday! I will be pulling for them again next Sunday when they demolish the Butler Bulldogs.
The work we put in our jobs and lives is sometimes more impressive than the underdog’s role in athletics. Getting up each day, doing the right thing, and working through frustration is more heroic than the glamorous world of sports. Getting students to understand that a quick fix isn’t the answer is difficult. Last Saturday was a good example of staying the course and taking care of business. Two instructional days have been missed this year due to bad weather. One of the days didn’t even seem fair because the district was forced to close due to power failures; however, we still had to recover this day. Students on Saturday should be commended. They were present, worked, and were better for coming.
The elementary school should really be commended for finding a way to motivate students and keep them academically engaged. Elementary students don’t have the option to attend OFYP days; they all have to attend school. OFYP (Optional Flexible Year Program) days were included in the calendar for high school and middle school students to help provide individualized instruction and provide incentives to students for attendance, good grades, and great TAKS scores. Elementary students attend school on OFYP days.
Observing this Monday in the 3rd and 4th grade wing, after Saturday school, I watched smiling faces and enthusiastic children parade into the classrooms. I had many students give some high fives and ask questions about church and "playing football." Upon entering Mrs. Ingram’s English class, I observed one student answer a vocabulary question. Mrs. Ingram asked, "Can anyone tell me what the word ‘punish’ means." The students raised their hands and definitely had a great response. Hands shot up as the teacher continued this "starter" activity for other vocabulary words. I walked down to the hall and saw Mrs. Sutherland-Collins working with students, Mrs. Glover’s class already had groups of students making different combinations of Lego blocks, and Mrs. Cash’s class were silently reading individual books! Mrs. Culpepper and Mrs. Johnson were busy getting their students ready while Mrs. Barrier was pulling a student to help with reading. This was all before 8:10am on Monday after Saturday school. The biggest thing teachers do for students is provide hope. They set goals and work as motivators. You could see this on Monday. When we look at the basketball teams that will be playing this weekend you will see the same formula. You hear many times that the "teams were never expected" to go that far, but you always hear the coaches say "we play to win." Many of the teachers that show up day in and day out have expectations for students that would rival a national championship. They are the motivators for our students because when it is all said and done, it all comes down to teaching.