Rain Clouds and a Growth Mindset

I’m not a science teacher. But I know that when the dark, gray, thick clouds roll in, it means rain isn’t far behind. Most people see dark clouds as foreboding and impending doom.

When they roll in, they run for cover.

My daughter loves the weather, she’s obsessed with it. Most 3-year-old children are watching surprise egg videos on YouTube (she likes those too) and Descendants 2 (she loves that too) on their iPads or phones, but my daughter likes to look at the weather app on my smartphone. She loves to check the radar map and see if it’s going to rain. And when she sees the green on the weather map indicating rain is coming, she squeals with delight and gets so excited.

I asked her one day why she gets excited about rain.

I told her most people don’t like rain because it makes it hard to get around. She said “But mama…when it rains, the flowers grow. And the flowers are beautiful. Some are pink, some are blue, some are yellow! But you can’t have the beautiful flowers without the rain.” And my goodness, she is right.

And it hit me after she said that. How her “rain bringing growth” imagery applies so well in education. She’s basically framing the reason why having a Growth Mindset is so vitally important. When you have a growth mindset, you’re able to see rain clouds as the vessels of rain that make the flowers grow instead of as the gray doom of a destructive storm. Though excessive rain can bring flooding or damage, it also replenishes areas of drought, presents opportunities for improved infrastructure, and brings needed irrigation for plants and crops.

We have plenty of seemingly gray rain clouds in education.

We have state tests and policies and mandates, we have impossible expectations placed on us as educators and professionals. We have evaluations and accountability. All of that can feel overwhelming at times and seem like a cloud over our heads. But we can choose how we see those rain clouds. Are they foreboding and an indication of doom and gloom? Or do they bring the rain that brings the growth? My daughter isn’t even 4 and she teaches me daily about why checking my own mindset is so vitally important.

You can’t have the beautiful flowers without the rain. I think sometimes in education we want to skip straight to the beautiful flowers part. After all, the flowers make it all worth it. But as my daughter reminds me daily, don’t skip the rain. Don’t run from the rain. Change your mindset about what clouds rolling in really means. Clouds bring the rain and that rain makes things grow. And the more rain, well, I’m not a science teacher but I know, the more rain, the more growth, the more flowers. And we could all use more flowers.

How do you embrace growth and funnel the rain cloud energy into growth in your own class or students? Feel free to comment and share!

Post by former FLVS Teacher Amanda Schaffer

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