School leaders can inspire student success by sharing personal stories
- Karen McEwen, principal of Cooke STEM Academy in Detroit, shared with Chalkbeat the story of how she was once a classroom disruptor and uses that story to relate to students today.
- McEwen said she is able to draw on her background to connects with troublemakers and inspire them to "fight" for themselves and for their futures.
- Educators have to see the potential in students so that they can encourage them to make good decisions about where they want to end up in life, McEwan said.
Stories unite people, especially when students and teachers feel free to share their personal experiences in a safe space. When educators share an element of their life story, they allow students to see their humanity, their struggles, and the resilience they demonstrated on the path to success. Teachers can inspire students and make a difference in their lives. This should be one of the prime motivations for teaching.
This article also demonstrates the need to see the potential of students in the classroom. Students who are disruptive often become the ones with the most potential as an educator, especially if that passion and energy can be redirected into more constructive channels. The “troublemakers” are often the students with the most innate leadership skills that can translate well to an educational setting. However, connecting with these students and motivating them to take the reigns of their own lives, is a necessary part of this process.