We humans spend a lot of time talking about the world’s problems as if there is nothing we can do about them.
“Somebody should do something about struggling schools, violence, poverty and other problems,” we say. We know that “doing something” is hard work and fraught with challenges and disappointments.
When urban students fail, some educators may say: “they gave up, they stopped studying, they let family and personal issues get in the way so what could we do?” The reaction is the same as if it were a casual discussion at Starbuck’s about violence in a faraway land.
We believe otherwise at Cristo Rey Boston High School. We don’t blame “them,” our students, when something goes wrong. We look at ourselves. What could we have done differently in the classroom today? How can I do a better job of teaching tomorrow?
Taking ownership for student success requires trusting relationships. We visit student homes, know their families, and understand their struggles but still hold them to high standards because we let young people down if we do otherwise. And, believe me, they know you’re letting them down.
The great thing about a Cristo Rey school is that not only teachers make a difference by taking ownership for student success. Corporate supervisors, more than 350 of them across Greater Boston in fact, do the same when they demand high performance from our students. Supervisors, like our teachers, want our students to do well but hold them accountable for quality performance. That’s the way it should be regardless of where you are from.
Whether it’s at work or school, adults demonstrate that they care by having the courage to demand and expect excellence.