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March 6, 2017

A Top 20 Teacher Shares his Weekly Letter to Parents/Guardians! Entry #7

The entry for today deals a great question: “What is your dream?” Saint Mark’s 4th-grade teacher, Mr. Bowlin, navigates the world of OPOs and getting better through feedback. These are great topics to tackle and we hope students, teachers, and parents all get better through the smashing of OPOs and the healthy understanding of feedback.

Top 20: Feedback and OPOs

The question, “What is your dream?” was the catalyst for this week’s Top 20 lessons on differentiating between positive and negative OPOs, choosing to reject the feelings of NGE, and being open to accepting feedback. Our students have some lofty goals in mind for themselves, including becoming doctors, attending prestigious universities, becoming professional athletes, making famous inventions, etc. When we set a goal for ourselves, we must understand that there will be obstacles along the way. We will be challenged to work hard, focus on constant improvement, and never settle for anything less than your best.

Along the way it is inevitable that we will encounter OPOs that are not in our best interest as well as the feelings of NGE. Our ability to look beyond the negativity or doubt and find the courage to continue to pursue our goals is essential. It helps when we can find support from the people around us. Next, we looked at one of my favorite quotes: “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

This week we read a book together called “The Shark and the Goldfish” by Jon Gordon. To relate it to the context of OPOs, the goldfish (Gordy) is in desperate need of advice from the shark (Sammy) when he finds himself in the new surroundings of the ocean instead of a fishbowl. Amongst several negative opinions, Gordy is able to take Sammy’s experience and positive outlook and use it to his advantage to not only survive but actually thrive in the ocean.

Being open to feedback, which we defined as “helpful information or criticism that is given to help someone improve” is a key component to improvement and making progress toward a specific goal. However, we need to be intentional about who we are seeking feedback from and confirming that it is an opinion that is in our best interest. If we want to become the best version of ourselves, sometimes we do need to listen to other’s opinion if it helps us improve, even if it isn’t exactly what we want to hear.

We came up with great list of characteristics of people whose opinions should be have value in our lives. The list included people who are positive, optimistic, caring, honest, trustworthy, wise, experienced, and great listeners. In the story, Gordy needed the mentorship and guidance of Sammy to survive in the ocean. The same is true for us. We need people in our lives that can coach us through challenges, be available for advice, and inspire us to never settle for mediocrity. I encourage you to have a conversation with your son/daughter about a person who has helped you become the person you are today. Then come up with a list of people your child can seek feedback and advice from in his/her life.

-Mr. Bowlin

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