Before an afternoon of jumping over hurdles and throwing the discus begins, we sit together, students and coaches, and have a conversation. Lately, we’ve been talking about goals:
"What is a goal? What is a short-term goal? What is a long-term goal? How can we take small steps in the form of daily or weekly goals in order to eventually achieve our long-term goal?"
Through these discussions, I have discovered an aspiring chef, a future architect, dreams to become the head of a construction team, and a few who dream of becoming coaches. These discussions remind me of the big picture. They allow me to step outside the day to day and remember there are many chapters to be written in these children’s lives.
Where will they be a year from now? Five years? Fifty years? How will today effect their tomorrows? How can I leave the greatest impact in my short time with each one of them?
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my early elementary school years and remembering the mentors and moments that helped shaped who I am today. I remember art classes, music classes, dance classes, after school sports, and science programs. In addition to having access to these resources, I also had options, people to answer my questions and, more importantly, adults who encouraged me to ask as many questions as I could think up. The most significant attributes I developed from my access to these diverse opportunities were curiosity and competence - never to be afraid to ask a question and the knowledge that, through grit and hard work, I could learn anything. These are the qualities I encourage in the youth I work with. If one of my first graders knows he can learn the skill of how to throw a shot put, then he can also learn the skill of making friends. If one of my second graders knows she can learn the skill of dibbling a soccer ball, she can also be confident in her ability to master long division. In short, once we are given the opportunity to understand how we learn, we can learn anything.
-Elizabeth Henkle, DiscoveryFEST Coach at KIPP Central City Primary