During Spring Break this year, I had the pleasure of traveling to Florida with my daughter, Courtney, and a friend of hers from college. Courtney is a graduate student, studying to be a Speech-Language Pathologist. She wants to work in a school setting eventually when she finishes school. Her friend, Jane, is an undergraduate student studying psychology. She hopes to work as a school psychologist. We had many hours in the car together and we spent some of it discussing education-related topics.
It is still sometimes hard to imagine that my “little girl” and I are now discussing IEP procedures, dyslexia, communication devices, lesson plans, etc. It is so exciting to hear fresh perspectives on these topics from the next generation.
We also discussed the different paths that these wonderful young ladies took to wind up where they are now. Courtney’s path was not an easy one. She struggled along the way but also had many tools and resources to help her along the way. She had teachers who challenged her, she learned organization skills through marching band, and she had a never give up attitude that served her well. Courtney never took the easy path; she decided on a major that was not only difficult but also very competitive.
Although she was not always at the top academically, she made up for it with the little things. She didn’t miss class, she was always on time, she always dressed appropriately, she volunteered at the Speech & Hearing Clinic, and she always maintained a positive attitude. I am convinced that these little things made a huge difference in Courtney’s being accepted into the Master’s program for SLP.
Jane’s path was much different, she never received a grade lower than an A. While this is such an amazing accomplishment, it also comes with an added amount of pressure. Again, in my mind, it is the little things that have helped her reach and maintain this plateau. She is organized, punctual, polite, and dedicated.
While their paths were quite different, I have no doubt that both of these ladies will end up exactly where they choose to be. Teachers can have a huge impact on the paths of their students. While academics are important, don’t forget about the little things. Encourage your students to be punctual, organized and to have a positive attitude. A little belief in oneself can go a long way!