Lent Term is often started with talk of New Year’s resolutions. For this reason, I am sure there are Headteachers up and down the country using this theme as the topic of their first assembly. This year however, I decided not to welcome the children back by finding out their New Year’s resolutions. Primarily because, if like me, by the 12th January your best intentions have been broken and you are feeling slightly demoralized at yet another resolution not working out.
Over the holidays, I heard the popular song ‘What have you done today to make yourself proud,’ sung by Heather Small. This uplifting song was the theme tune for the 2012 London Olympics and is also a popular catchphrase on the comedy show, Miranda. It is the title of the song which I wanted to talk about to the children in our first assembly of the New Term, New Year and New Decade.
Celebrating small achievements
We often do not take the time to feel proud about the small achievements we have made. We strive instantly for the end goal and do not step back and reflect, reward or feel proud of ourselves for the small steps we are making in pursuit of our goal or ambition.
Therefore, my challenge to the pupils is to try to do something each day that they are proud of.
At Hatherop, we provide a number of extrinsic rewards which encourage the children to do their best when small steps have been taken towards a target or end goal. These rewards, such as house points, praise postcards or Headmaster’s awards are so important. As a school we want to congratulate and show our students we are proud of them when they have achieved something or worked hard. I want the pupils to feel proud of themselves for their successes or achievements. In other words, to strive for a goal for intrinsic reasons and reflect inwardly and feel proud of themselves for their achievements.
This is so important because it:
- Makes you feel good,
- Increases your confidence,
- Enhances your self-esteem and
- Keeps your focus more on the positive and less on the negative in your life.
How will our values help us feel proud?
In the assembly I gave the children some examples linked to our values of what they could do and be proud of:
- Happiness: You helped someone to feel happy when they were sad or you said or did something kind
- Adventure: You tried something new and stepped out of your comfort zone.
- Teamwork: You were part of a winning team, you may not have scored the winning goal but you were part of it. Or you contributed to a group discussion with a good idea or correct answer
- Honesty: You did not understand a question, you were honest that you struggled and asked for help.
- Encouragement: You encouraged a friend to keep trying or encouraged them to have a go.
- Opportunity: You put your hand up to answer a question or to read aloud when you would usually have kept quiet.
- Perseverance: You kept going when you felt like giving up.
I think in the hustle and bustle of the modern world when we all rush around at school, work or home, it is important to reflect at the end of the day on the things we have achieved and can be proud of. I expect there will be many things. Focusing on these help us remain positive and upbeat rather than feel yet another New Year’s resolution has failed.