Skip to main content

Intersection of Competition and Hope

So much has been written about competition. Today, I argue that to compete is to have hope.
This week our students were preparing for spring break. Their eyes were solidly on a week of sleeping in, games, Netflix, and no homework. It also happens to be the final week to submit their creative work for possible selection in the ACTELA Anthology. Friday was a whirlwind of preparing over 35 students and their work for submission.

I watched with sympathy as each student agonized over the titles of their creative works. I watched as they approved their final submissions and clicked the send button. I watched their eyes glow with hope as they learned about the possibility inherent in their submission. Hope is inherent in the act of competition.

Academic or athletic competition imbues students with hope.  Learning how to behave under the pressure of competition is part of maturation.  I have always appreciated a colleague, Dr. Kevin Durand, who taught his soccer players to win as if you have won before and lose as if you will win again. To win and lose with class is a skill that we must continue to teach our students. The games they play and the movies they watch tend to illustrate the opposite.

To win or to lose is to inspire hope. A student only turns away from competition when they lack self-esteem.  When students create and innovate, they are filled with self-empowerment. Our schools need to empower our students to create and to innovate. But, creation and innovation should involve hard work.
          "Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest a crop where nothing was 
            planted!"~ Dr. Joyce Knudsen.  (@drjoyce_knudsen)

We are no longer educating for the factory. We are educating for leadership and for jobs that do not yet exist. Creation and innovation or PBL and  Genius Hour are concepts that must have high academic expectations for our students. We can't merely put students on the stage and expect them to win if they haven't put in the hard work themselves. It is also not enough to simply put students in a sandbox of creation and innovation to play. We must combine the academic expectations and the possibilities of competition in order to empower our students.

I welcome your thoughts.

Suzanne Rogers


Taught, volunteered and substituted for almost 30 years in public, private, and charter schools.
English teacher, AP teacher department chair, AP Discipline, AP Academics, Curriculum and PD, ELA Coach
Avid mom of two college cubs, AP English teacher, Instructional Facilitator, cradle United Methodist.


Popular posts from this blog

#Edtech tools of summer

Summer is a great time for teachers to work with #edtech tools. Two free Edtech tools that I'm working with this summer include TED-Ed and RECAP. Both of these tools can help a teacher flip his or her classroom. I've found that videos and screencasts are helpful to my students. Why?

1. Visual learners benefit from a visual explanation in addition to a handout

2. Students who have been absent can more easily regain what they missed

3. Students can replay the video and not be embarrassed

So, what is TED-Ed?
"TED-Ed is also a platform for teachers. They can adapt TED-Ed Original Lesson content to create customized lessons to use in their classrooms or use our Create a Lesson tool to build their own new lessons with any YouTube video."


My students have also used TED-Ed to create memorable lessons. I'm using it this summer to quickly create video lessons from videos that I have used in the classroom previously. I will be able to…

Inaugural Poetry Night

Inaugural Poetry Night at LISA North
April 5, 2016

As we approach our first Poetry Night, hearts are fluttering.   Our students are nervous to present their poetry, and out teachers are nervous about attendance. Since it is our first attempt to showcase our student's work, we  have also set up a LISA North Poetry Channel on Youtube so that the students and parents and view our students' efforts.

We will continue to add to our poetry channel each year.
LISA North Poetry Channel

Google Summit in Arkansas-I am Thankful!

I AM Thankful for

     The Google in Education Arkansas Summit took place this weekend on the Conway High School campus. Wow! Just Wow! The pure joy of being part of a PLN is in the connection. This weekend, I saw just a couple of Tweets talking about #GIESummit in Arkansas. I literally said "OH MY Goodness! How could I have missed this amazing opportunity?"  So, I quickly responded to a Tweeter @davidjhinson from Hendrix College,  +Hendrix College to ask if I could register late and still attend. David was kind enough to ask the Google staff, if it was even doable. The answer was yes!

     Thankful to be allowed to attend a Google Summit, I thought nothing of ponying up the money for such an  amazing opportunity in our state. (Thanks to Dan Taylor for helping with the registration process.) This morning, I drove up to Conway and sat in on the lovely Keynote, "What's on the Horizon" by +Lisa Thumann, @lthumann.  Each session I attended bu…