Got Grit?

grit coverBright eyed and bushy tailed I moved right from graduation to teaching geography, reading, and running a computer lab. Everyone said, your light will dim and your focus will change. Well, they were wrong.

Let the record show, that was some 10 years ago and my intentions have not changed, but have only grown stronger and more awesome.  Why? Because I “got” grit and I teach my students to have grit.

How else can I prepare my students to function in the interconnected online global world that is full of competition? By never stopping to achieve their goals – that’s how!  Do not be pushed down in the face of adversity. Remember, it is okay and even good to make mistakes; this is how we learn. Stand up for what you believe in. If you get knocked down, get up!  Life can be hard and hurtful. Learn from this and get back to work.

In today’s instant access world, one of the most important lessons I can lead my students to is that hard work and perseverance does pay off, though it’s not always immediate and often delayed.

Children learn first and foremost by example. If you have your own children, this becomes clear in the first year of life when you find them repeating your behaviors. We are all teachers and we are all students on some level always.

GritI share my personal stories of grit with my students and focus on all of the mistakes that I have made (or could have made) and what I gained from those experiences in my life. My online students thrive on knowing this part of me as a person. The connection that we make on an individual level provides the foundation for trust and growth during their short time in my class. Through the use of technology, my online students are able to personally share their trials, tribulations, successes, and celebrations – strengthening our teacher-student connection. This in turn provides my students the environment to learn and develop on their own prescribed path.

Every moment in our journey teaches us something and shows us a sometimes hidden truth.

When the going gets tough, I teach my students to get tough back! Check out this great FLVS video on grit:

After the training wheels were gone and you fell did you just quit? Of course not! You cried, you mumbled inconsiderate phrases, skinned your knees, and maybe even received a sprain or a break; but you got back on, learned to balance, gained speed, and made it over the cracks and tree roots that impeded upon your path.

Will you fall again? YES!

You will fall multiple times and over different obstacles. It is what you do with your “injury” that showcases your personal grit. We are collectively teaching the future leaders of our country to “keep calm and carry on” our work.  You cannot get more awesome than that!

Remember to dance, laugh, and smile whenever the moment arises. Leave your mark on the world each and every day. Teach your students to have grit in all that they do and they will go on to accomplish wonderful and amazing things in our intricately connected world and will have you to thank for it!

Image Credit: History – “Keep Calm and Carry On,” http://www.keepcalmandcarryon.com/history


Elise HarrisElise Harris, Florida Virtual School 2015 Teacher of the Year, has been teaching in Florida for ten years and joined FLVS in 2008. As a middle school Social Studies teacher, she enjoys creating innovative and unconventional opportunities for student success and believes firmly that every student deserves the right to learn in their own way.



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