A Grateful Heart

Gratitude. Grateful. Grace.

What comes to mind when you hear these words?

Is it the 2018-2019 school year?  Is it your job? Is it your students?  Is it your family? Is it your community?

I would be willing to bet that many of you are like me in that you probably didn’t think of the 2018-2019 school year or students (if you’re in education) when you first heard those words.  I thought of my family and my tribe-the greatest friends in the world! There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m challenging myself to re-frame my lens of gratitude to include my work and professional life this year.  What did you think of?

As we begin a new school year at Woodward Academy, our focus in the Upper School and across the Academy is gratitude.  In addition, we read The Anatomy of Peace this summer.  As I reflect on this book and what gratitude means to me, I’m reminded to be grateful in all circumstances, especially as I navigate conflict and uncomfortable situations. Be grateful for diverse perspectives as they push you to unhinge your thinking and establish vulnerability .  Be grateful for the challenges as they produce perseverance and opportunities for collaboration. And yes, even be grateful for the colleague or student who may seem rude or disrespectful at times as this allows you to practice empathy and understand their feelings.

Everyone has a story to tell. Having a heart of peace filled with gratitude forces us to stop objectifying people and situations.  Instead, it allows us to be present in the moment and grateful for another’s feelings and dispositions (you know, treat them as if they are a human being).  It doesn’t mean we have to accept being disrespected or made to feel less than, but it does mean we should give grace and thanks.  I challenge myself each day of this school year to be grateful in and for all things.

Gratitude.  Grateful.  Grace.

Published by Alex Bragg

Alex is the Upper School Teaching and Learning Specialist at Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia. She is passionate about student driven learning, the art of giving and receiving authentic feedback and coaching, innovation in the classroom, balanced and authentic assessment mapping, and school redesign.

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