“Be Strong Enough To Stand Alone,
Smart Enough To Know When You Need Help.
And Brave Enough To Ask For It.
This quote, sent from the founders of Black Girls Run! to their members, stood out to me. True, it is one of those quotes that people like to pass around at the start of the new year – an attempt to motivate you to reset your life, to take a stand, and to be brave. Yet this quote is more than that, its about advocating for yourself, knowing when you need help, and asking for it – seemingly simple tasks, yet often difficult to do. Many of us do not like asking for help. I can rattle off some reasons why – it makes us seem weak, someone might think we don’t know what we are doing, we might look unprepared. The list can go on.
Yet when we teach we expect students to ask for help. We encourage them to do this on a daily basis. We write it under the “Areas of Growth” section on the progress report. We have individual conversations with students that end with, “Why didn’t you ask for help?” Yet we do not model the act of asking for help very well. Do students observe us asking each other for help? Do they know that we collaborate together to create a healthy and thriving environment for them? Do they know that asking for help only makes us braver, smarter, and more confident?
Maybe I am projecting my reflection on the Trinity community, or maybe there is someone who can identify with this. We are fortunate to be a part of a community that is resource rich and innovative. We have faculty and staff who are trained and experts in a variety of areas. Let’s capitalize on that by being brave, knowing when we need help, and asking for it. At Trinity, you only have to stand alone for a moment. There is always someone who is willing to help – especially if you ask.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Javonne Stewart serves the Trinity School community as a 6th Grade Lead Teacher
This post pairs nicely with A More Beautiful Question, one of our summer reads a few years ago. You’re right, the human (and non-human) resources are all around us. We need to be brave to ask, and even more brave to recognize when someone (students and teachers) is too afraid to ask.
Amen, sister! I have rarely felt uncomfortable asking for help but I wonder if that’s because I have been fortunate to work with people that make me feel safe when I ask. I hope my classroom fosters that same safe feeling for my students.
Javonne, Thank you for this timely message! Just this morning I asked a grade level for help for a large art project that was related to a unit they study. Realizing I can’t do it all by myself was the first hurdle. Asking for help was difficult but necessary for the sake of the project and for helping the students! I already heard back that they are happy to help! Yes, we do have a giving community that is happy to help out, we just need to ask!
How did I miss this post? It is especially poignant at the start of a new school year with new faculty members who weary of needing help. I hope that they have learned that we are not weary of helping. . . and it just might be us that needs it some day too!