The 3 A’s of Awesome

Like a lot of people, I am supremely inspired by Neil Pasricha’s perspective on life. Wouldn’t it be great if we could leave the politics of education out of the process of learning and focus on what we can do to ensure that our children have an awesome Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity?

What are you doing in your learning environments to foster the 3 A’s of Awesome?



  1. I think I have to look at it from the perspective of my students (the best I can, not actually being one of them) to see where we can go with the 3 A’s of Awesome. I work at a Title I school, about 96% free-or-reduced lunch. Most of my students come from “difficult” homes or situations. A lot, not all, have little help at home for learning–parents work 2-3 jobs, parents don’t speak English or the parents just don’t care. So this is how I see the 3 A’s looking like to them and how I can help influence them for the better:

    Attitude — My students are mostly positive. Our classroom is positive and usually light hearted. I try to explain to my students that attitude is one of the few things they can actually control in this world. I give some arbitrary number (may have heard is somewhere) of “90% of what happens to us, we can’t control, but the other 10% is how we respond to it.” Many of them get this. They understand that attitude can really make or break their day, or even week. I try to make my classroom a safe and loving place. They know that the forgiving environment encourages risk-taking and reflects on mistakes and shares successes. But I have to model that. I have ups and downs like anyone else. My attitude “sucks” sometimes. The kids see that, and yet they keep moving forward. That is the attitude I want them to have. I want them to stay focused, stay positive, stay passionate despite their “leaders” falling short.

    Awareness — I’m really not sure how to approach this one but from our current situation in the classroom. We have a student with Autism (high functioning). He is an integral part to our classroom family and I know that everyone would miss him if he were gone. We’ll call him Steven. Steven has his days. Blow-ups. Rage. Annoying. Disrespectful. But he has come a long way. Last year was the first time (4th grade) that he stayed in the classroom at the same school for one complete year. This year is the first year that he has been expected to learn with the rest of the class–regular classroom instruction. Steven is bright and knows how to work the system. And to be honest, sometimes it feels like we have to “put up” with him, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. My class is “aware” of his situation and we have learned to move on. It isn’t a burden. It’s not a nuisance or a bother. It’s Steven. The classroom’s awareness of him and what he must go through everyday is beyond anything that I could have ever taught my students. They accept him. We love him.

    Authenticity — This means so many different things in my class. We try to be authentic in our dealings with classmates and teachers. We are who we are. We know we can get better, but we must be true to ourselves. Many kids struggle with who they are. I have a few in my class that are content with being followers; doing what’s cool because someone else is doing it. They don’t see themselves as “good enough.” We talk about this, and I feel that as they grow up, soon they too will understand it. Another aspect of authenticity in our classroom is the work and assessment. I still struggle making things connect to the “real world” and to their lives outside of school. It’s not an easy task all the time. But as we engage in digital communities and social platforms, the learning becomes a bit more authentic. We’ve connected with classrooms around the world and we are embarking on some projects that will allow them to self-guide, pace and assess their work, ideas and learning.

    I hope that makes sense.

    1. Holy macaroni, Jeremy, I’ve never received a comment so, er, awesome. Reading it reminds me of how it’s the journey, not the destination, that we need to consider a success. Your reflection really enlivened my day today.

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