I just got back from a “vacation” to my parents house in southern Illinois. I do not put vacation in quotes because we had a bad time, we had a blast. But I put vacation in quotes because there was a lot of hard work, what I call grinding, going on. I was able to have some reflection time and connect two totally different worlds.
I guess I need to first describe the two worlds.
Currently, I am a middle school Assistant Principal, live in suburban Sacramento, and work in a suburban community. I spend a lot of time doing work on the computer, I walk a lot for my job, but nothing strenuous at all. I grew up in a small community (3000 people), we lived on quite a few acres of land, and my family had a construction/tree trimming/grave digging company (lots of manual labor).
Going back on vacation I was able to do some work to help out a little. I put some siding on a house, fixed a lawn tractor, took a tire off a big tractor, and did some chainsawing. Fairly typical stuff for being back on the farm. What hit me was that much of what has brought me success currently comes from that work. Because everyone there works hard, it is the people that are grinders that are successful. I learned (without knowing it) how to be a grinder.
I believe there is a huge difference is people who are hard workers and people who are grinders. Someone who works hard, gives a lot of energy and effort. They work at a task until it is done. Most of the people I know in education are hard workers. People who are grinders are a little different, they work hard but it is more than that.
Grinders never stop grinding.
Grinders never stop going after the goal.
Grinders never stop pushing and moving forward.
Grinders never stop thinking.
I know that this may be an argument in semantics. But I do believe there is a difference.
I am truly grateful for my upbringing that has made me a grinder. it wan’st just my family or the town I was in, the entire region was grinders. They had to be. If you weren’t, someone else would do the roof, cut the tree, or dig the sewer line up. Then you might not be able to pay your light bill, buy food, or even keep you home. For many people in that area, you grind to survive.
Like I said, in education there are a lot of hard workers, but the best advice I could ever give to a new teacher or new administrator is “be a grinder”, they are rare.