Finding Resilience and Grit as an Educator

If you have been in education for any length of time, you have seen trends come and go.

Sure, the nomenclature and acronyms change, but when you strip away the shiny new surface, there is almost always a foundation of something that has been tried before. Many of these new initiatives promise substantial gains in improving in the areas of weakness– in all areas of education, but as they say “when it seems to good to be true, it usually is”.

What does work, are in fact, acts of resilience that build GRIT in our students and educators. Angela Duckworth explores why some people succeed and others fail in her best selling book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She also indicates that we can grow to be more resilient through activities and events that challenge us in ways to dig deep and reach. People who demonstrate a high GRIT score, our perform those with lower GRIT scores. So, what can we do to nurture resilience and grit?

Educators live in an ever-changing professional world, and often they resist the idea of change, adopting the culture of “but we’ve always done it that way”. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zones and develop resilience and grit with these ideas:

Build capacity within your staff or with your students. Create a foundation of trust and a sense of team, and then push your team to aim high. Set specific goals that challenge the status quo and keep them front and center. Check in often to see if you are meeting those goals.

Think outside of the box and challenge yourself, your team or students to embrace change. Failure is likely, especially when you are embarking on something new, but learn from it –and keep at it! You don’t move forward if you stay in the same place.

Be reflective. Use a variety of ways to seek feedback; surveys, drop boxes, message boards and conversations are great ways to solicit meaningful feedback. It can be tough to hear, especially when it comes to your style as an educator, but it builds grit and allows you to grow and improve.

Stay relevant. Professional and personal growth is for everyone. Challenge yourself to grow in all areas of education, not just the ones that pertain to your role. Embrace professional development opportunities online and in person. There is a plethora of ways that you can grow in your pedagogy and personal life.

Try putting yourself in your student’s shoes. #shadowastudent is a  great way to experience learning through students’ eyes. You probably will learn a thing or two about good teaching practices too!

Practice empathy. When you are assisting or supporting others, you are building resilience through other people’s experiences.

No matter what what your goals, you need grit to get there–and the good news is you can grow grit! Try taking the survey to see what your grit score is.


Michele Hill is a passionate educator who serves as a coordinator of admissions and communications at Burlington County Institute of Technology. Throughout her career as an educator, Michele has been a champion for struggling and impoverished students. Michele has been a guest blogger for ASCD Inservice, McGraw Hill, Principal Leadership, Teacher Tool Kit UK, Edweek and ASCD Road Tested. Michele is the producer of DisruptEdTV School Spotlight. You can follow Michele on Twitter @HillMrispo or visit her blog: spiritededucator.blogspot.com


This article is part of a monthly series from Michele Hill and a guest blogger that shares advice and expertise as educators who demonstrate the importance of working together to help create a school culture of excellence for all students and staff. You can read more great articles by clicking on the ‘Dynamic Synergy’ tag or by clicking here.