What we must value, as Dr. Gustafson illustrates in his portrait of a classmate named Joey, is the way our students feel about themselves. We must value our ability to see in our students a potential that they may not recognize for themselves. We must seek to help each and every student find the light within them and empower them to grow as individuals. This must be true for ALL students.
Obstacles will present themselves. Dr. Gustafson reminds us that we do not all have the same priorities or philosophies about what is best for children. We will run into challenging co-workers and supervisors. There will always be difficult situations. But he also states that, “Adversity can always teach us something if we let it. Vulnerability and humility accelerate our learning, but even the smallest excuse or deflection will stunt our growth.” It is our duty as educators to identify priorities and common goals; “to help students achieve at high levels while seeing them as whole learners.”