Principal's Message

Toyon and the importance of working hard…

A message from Maria Smith, Toyon Principal

Welcome to Toyon Elementary School. I may be biased but this is a great school community filled with so many wonderful children, families, teachers and staff. We are a small school- everyone knows everyone and each and every student is the most important person in the world to us. This year, we're talking about the importance of working hard.

This may be shocking to you but you will rarely hear me say to a student, "You are so smart and talented!" What? The principal admits that he doesn't give praise to students for their intellectual abilities? It's true.

I believe that talent and natural ability are over-rated. Some people may be born with a little talent in some areas but I believe that most success comes from lots of practice and hard work.
In fact, research (Malcolm Gladwell, Matthew Syed) tells us that most successful people are the hardest workers who have put in tens of thousands of hours of purposeful practice into their craft. For example, Michael Jordan didn't become a great basketball player because he has a natural gift- he put in hours and hours of practicing specific basketball skills in order to become one of the greatest players of all time. Natural talent is not enough.

What does this idea mean to our students? Students need to learn to practice until mastery. From the multiplication facts to the scientific process, students need to put in the time and effort to learn and master these academic concepts. Giving up is not an option.

Students who are praised for working hard and outstanding effort are more likely to not give up when they are challenged. They are more likely to achieve more as they understand that success comes from working hard, not some talent that they are born with.

So, the next time your child does well in school, instead of praising them for how smart they are, praise them for their effort and say, "You are such a hard worker! You must have studied and practiced a lot!"

Maria Smith
Principal of Toyon