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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen GET MOTIVATED: Darin Beckwith, director of Dawson Education Services Cooperative, talks to a group of educators from six of the seven Garland County school districts during the Countywide Professional Development event at Lake Hamilton's Wolf Arena Thursday.

PEARCY -- Six of the seven public school districts in Garland County geared up for the new year with the annual Countywide Professional Development event hosted by Dawson Education Service Cooperative Thursday at Lake Hamilton's Wolf Arena.

It was the second year Dawson has hosted this event, which co-op Director Darin Beckwith said serves as a motivation morning for educators from Cutter Morning Star, Jessieville, Mountain Pine, Lake Hamilton, Fountain Lake and Hot Springs school districts.

Donna Beegle, president of Communications Across Barriers, spoke about breaking the cycle of poverty and how that relates to the school system. Beegle said she grew up in generational migrant-labor poverty and shared her struggles of how she felt school was not for her. She now works with educators and others to help those students living in poverty succeed.

Beckwith told The Sentinel-Record that bringing in speakers like Beegle for a countywide event allows all of the districts to benefit at once from the message and information.

"The obvious other part of why we do it is we want to send our teachers back to school energized and ready for the year," he said.

Beckwith touched on the highlights of a suggested book -- "GRIT" by Angela Duckworth -- to motivate those in attendance.

"I know we've kicked 'grit' around, 'What is grit?'... Grit is the willingness to persevere despite difficulty and initial failure. We talk about that all the time," he said. "You'll hear me say it over and over, failing forward. It's not about getting knocked down or how many times, it's about the ability to get up. Like I say, this world we've entered of innovation and education, there's no reason any of us shouldn't be failing forward."

Beckwith said that, when achieving success, talent is less important than grit and noted that Duckworth included a three-year study where she discovered that the individuals who were willing to get up and keep going often outperformed the ones with natural talent.

Beckwith concluded with a few of his thoughts for the coming school year, encouraging educators to focus on their purpose and how they can use that to motivate their students.

"We work creative on purpose for a purpose," he said. "When you wake up in the morning and you've got a pulse, you've got a purpose ... it's not just about making yourself better, it's about making those around you better, as well.

"The worst behavior that you tolerate, it sets the culture. School's starting on Monday and that's the time to set the culture in your classroom, in your district."

Beckwith said it was important to find the good in each student every day because their teachers may be the only positive experience they have during the day.

"Don't be a teacher, but the teacher," he said. "Anybody can be a teacher, but are you the teacher? Are you the teacher that's going to look at the kids I'm talking about? Are you the teacher that's going to go out of your way to notice if a kid's hungry, or hasn't bathed in a couple of days? Every day, be the teacher.

"When you feel like your day is terrible and you feel like giving up, that's when you've got to rise up and give it your all."

Local on 08/10/2018

Print Headline: Teachers get motivated for school year

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