There has been a lot of talk in education circles recently about “grit.” Apparently, the education world has now identified grit is one of a number of “noncognitive factors” that students need to succeed in the classroom. They are catching on to what we at TGS have always known: education isn’t only about the transmittal of academic content. At TGS, we allocate time during the educational day to the specific teaching of social communication, perspective taking, executive function skills, and yes, “grit.” We call it perseverance, and it’s one of our core values.
This week our students took several field trips out in the community. As nature would have it, the gorgeous weather we’ve had all fall gave way to grey skies and rain. But our students persevered. One group had a science slant to their explorations, visiting NOAA and the local waste water treatment facility. The smells of the latter nearly overwhelmed our sensory-sensitive students, but they persisted. Another group headed into Denver to tour Metro State University. After traveling between Boulder and Denver via public transportation, and dashing between buildings on the campus, everyone was soggy and damp, from shirts to shoes. But they persevered with few complaints, and returned to school with excitement in their voices and smiles on their faces. College is on the horizon for these persistent students!
Perseverance is caught as much as it is taught, and our staff walk the walk of perseverance daily. Perseverance is what keeps us scratching our heads until we pinpoint what’s getting in the way. It’s what keeps us engaged when the progress comes slowly, over weeks, months, or even years. Perseverance enables us to view our students and program through our future glasses with the confidence that the end goal is reachable – and worth it!