Dougie McNeill is our Learning Resource leader at BISC Lincoln Park.
I am constantly learning. I learn new things from my colleagues, from members of our school community, and from individuals that I am inspired by, but I learn the most from our students. You will have seen the words ‘Be Ambitious’ proudly presented around our school. These are more than just words.
Last week, I sat with a student I have known for some time. We know each other well, our individual strengths and challenges. As the year has progressed, so have we: the student with their academics and myself in my professional development, but what I did not expect was the lesson I received from my student about trusting ambition.
As a school, we often talk about how we perceive failure not as obstacle in our learning, but rather an opportunity to learn by overcoming a challenge. As we sat completing a math activity, a particularly challenging problem came up. This student who sat across from me smiled, during a time where there never used to be a smile. I asked this student what she was thinking about and she replied “If this was at the beginning of the year, I would have thought this problem was too hard. The problem is never too hard, you have to be patient and work through it. Because, Mr. McNeill, we’re going to find an answer today, even if we fail, we are still learning.”
Trust. This student saw an opportunity to learn in an environment that nurtures ambition and personal drive. This student taught me to trust in our endeavors, not to give up. To be ambitious in everything we do. It all stems from our teaching philosophy of creating learning without limits. This week, we had an opportunity to learn more from Dame Alison Peacock at a unique seminar event for our school community. I hope you had a chance to learn to trust ambition too.