“Trajectory: The path followed by an object moving under the action of given forces.”
One of the powerful things that schools can do is have an impact on a student’s life trajectory.
Sometimes this means providing the support for a student to achieve an even higher trajectory than he or she might otherwise have achieved.
Sometimes it means providing the stimulus to launch a career and a positive life by providing the inspirational fuel needed for take off.
Sometimes it means working to reset a trajectory in a student’s life, because the current one is starting to look like turning into a “death spiral”.
Every day teachers at St Columba offer their students knowledge, they model the love of learning, and offer hope and encouragement.
They also teach students about respect, the need to work hard to achieve your goals, and how to be a productive member of their community.
These are some of the lessons that fuel a positive life trajectory.
Teachers do indeed make a difference. Every single move we make in the classroom, in the schoolyard, beside the sporting field, in the audience, brings a fuel boost that can change the trajectory of the lives of our students.
We also recognise that some of the things that we do to make a positive trajectory possible are not always easy for our students to swallow.
Sometimes we have to work with students to remind them that :
- There are many different definitions of success.
- Sometimes being really smart at school and getting great marks is not enough to guarantee post-school success. There are other skills you need.
- Being a positive member of a community really makes a difference in life, and the way you treat others really matters.
- Sometimes failure is actually the key to later success, if you don’t give up.
- Sometimes real success comes from developing intelligent risk taking, creativity and spontaneity that augments your natural skills.
- Sometimes we have to remind students that instant gratification is not a given in life and show them that, to succeed, sometimes they have to do things whether they enjoy them or not.
The fact is that the stimulus needed to develop a positive life trajectory does not always come gift-wrapped in pretty paper with unicorn pictures on it.
Sometimes, the fuel to go higher, faster and better can taste a little bitter and be a little hard to swallow, but in the end it is worth it.
In the words of a song:
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try,
Sometimes you get what you need.”
Tough but true.
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