Sunday, October 12, 2014

Name One Thing You're Not Good at Doing

Name one thing that you’re not good at doing.

For me, it’s singing. 

So… imagine if I had to sing over the PA system at school every morning.

Knowing that I had to come to school and do something publicly that I’m not very good at would probably put me in a bad mood. I would be irritable, and I may even show up late or be absent in order to avoid having to do it.

Imagine, too, that the PA system microphone is at a desk in the office and the lady at the desk smirks at me when I show up. Especially on the days I’m late. Perhaps she even makes a sarcastic comment to me or worse, gives me the cold shoulder and doesn’t even mention my absences over the last week.

But, what if when I showed up to sing, I had a singing teacher there to meet me at the microphone? What if he greeted me with a smile and told me he would be right by my side while I sang? What if he offered to work with me to help me improve my singing?

Do you think I would be more likely to show up? Do you think I would be more hopeful? I do.

Each day we ask students who are not good at “doing school” to come to our building and perform. How we greet these students and the kind of support we provide may be the difference in how much hope they have for themselves and their success.

P.S. Singing karaoke in public is on my bucket list, only because singing in public is one of my fears, and I’m all about conquering fears.


  1. Jennifer, what a simple and profound post! I cannot wait to share this with my team, because it illustrates where we need to focus our attention in schools today, and now more than ever - relationships. In our middle school, we place a premium on building trusted connections between adults and adolescents. But the truth of the matter? We ALL need this and we ALL thrive when provided an atmosphere with these conditions. Thanks for summing up the most important thing we can do as educators - show we care and we're right there by our learners' sides. Good luck with your karaoke. I'd love to be there to hear it, and if you needed it, to sign it with you.

    Thanks for sharing, my friend.


  2. I love this because we do ask kids to do things every day outside of their comfort zone. It's up to us to recognize this and help them feel successful. I hope to be the one to meet them at the microphone . . .

    (Though I don't sing well, I do sing often. I dance, too. It's about teaching them to be comfortable to try.)

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love this piece Jen! I wrote a companion piece last week.

    Looks like we're both frustrated singers!

  4. Just had an opportunity to come across this post, and it really spoke to me as a middle level leader. I'm sharing it with my staff in this week's Friday Focus!