This is what's on my mind right now.
It's not Yay Math's mission statement. That's in the navigation bar at the top of the website.
It's not social media, which shares Yay Math's latest milestones.
It's what I'm focused on at this point in my life. Think of how you'd answer when a friend asks you, "So what's going on with you?"
This is what's going on with me, right now.
updated on March 21st, 2023
Does pride have any utility in education? I'm certain it does.
I learned about the concept of pride in 11th grade, on the football team. Coach talked about our gait on game days, in reference to how we walked out of the locker room on those frigid Saturday mornings back in Maryland. There weren't many people in attendance, pretty much just those whom you'd expect: the opposing team, the families, and the officials. But coach said that everyone would be watching as we walked out. He tuned us into how people can immediately tell if you're empowered or dejected, if you're serious or clown-like, and if you're just... ready... or not.
I also learned from my dad about the importance of writing my name at the top of every page, before even one lick of work. He said that once my name is on the page, it represented me, and thus I have an obligation to put forth my best effort. That my work becomes associated with who I am and what I'm about.
Many educators (including me) are quick to offer perspective to kids, in efforts to reduce subjective pressures. One quiz won't kill you, one missed day can be made up, etc. But I know that asking students to have pride in themselves and in their work is not a pressure increaser, but quite the opposite. It fixates their locus of control directly over themselves, which they have dominion over. "What would a prideful student do for this problem?" they could ask themselves. Perhaps the answer could be to use a ruler to draw a line, rather than winging it. Each incremental gesture adds up to that association. The modern term that clicks with these kids is "brand." They fully understand the concept of branding – how a public persona or product creates an undeniable association amongst the rest of us.
How we learn is no different. I believe educators should enlighten students about the association between their outputs and their name, or personal brand. It's an important life skill, one related to character development.
As long as it's a lifelong and independent journey, it's good teach students to have pride in themselves.