Strength in Humility

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“Humility is strong.

Arrogance is weak.”

Dan Rockwell

Someone I follow retweeted this quote last week. When I read it, I remember thinking how much it applies to my profession. Literacy Coaching. Because it struck me as relevant, I copied the quote on a sticky note and placed it on my laptop. 

“Humility is strong.” It takes a strong person to admit they don’t know everything.  I currently work with K-6 teachers. However, recently my grade level span was changed to include grades 7-8. My new assignment will begin next year, but I’ve been invited to sit in with the core ELA teachers in grades 7 and 8, who are working on assessments. I will need to be strong to admit I don’t know their curriculum as well as I will. That I don’t know them as individuals. They will be skeptical. I will be humble. I will be quiet and learn. I will admit when I don’t know something. I will be strong.

When working with new teachers, the most fun I have is with the newbies who are strong enough to admit they don’t know everything. They are strong enough to ask questions, to try new ideas, to take notes, to brainstorm solutions, to look at student work and evaluate student learning and their teaching.

“Arrogance is weak.” At first, I took that to mean that the arrogant person is weak. But, after pondering a little, could it also mean that arrogance itself is weak. When you remove arrogance, what is left? Arrogance attempts to cover up ignorance. Arrogance attempts to overlook weakness. Arrogance attempts to protect itself. Arrogance is turned inward. Those who are unwilling to admit ignorance can never get any better at what they do. 

Wouldn’t our lives, our teaching, our students’ learning be better if we all just humbled ourselves right now and whether we’ve taught a year or 25 years, admit we have a lot to learn. Let’s turn our thoughts outward to all those who will benefit from our strength. All of us can grow. All of us can learn. All of us can benefit from the strength of humility. 

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3 responses »

  1. Oh Kris! I love love love this! What an amazing quote and what a thoughtful, personal reflection you wrote about it. Strength is humility. I need to think more about that.

  2. The way that you shortened your sentences when you were talking about working with the 7th and 8th grade teachers was really powerful writing! And, how true is it that the teachers who are wanting to learn and are willing to admit their need to learn are BY FAR the most fun to work with!!!

  3. The 7th & 8th grade teachers are about to unwrap a gift. At first they may not know what it is. “I don’t need that!” or “I didn’t ask for one of THOSE” some may think. However, they will soon realize that you are the most humble, endearing, honest friend in education they could ever have. What makes you a great Lit Coach is that you are always, always, always wiling to learn and work with your charges. You never make anyone feel inferior, but instead you put people at ease as you support their growth and development. You will be a gift to them, and imagine the gifts you will receive in return. You are absolutely going to adore working with JH kids. They are adorable, impressionable, and eager to try on any hat. This is a great opportunity for you to make a big influence.

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