Mr. Harthoorn, True Grit


I was tasked to do an interview, and I decided to ask one of the most inspirational teachers we have at PHS, Nick Harthoorn. Harthoorn is a teacher that talks about “grit.” 

According to Angela Duckworth “Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something. Instead, grit is about having what some researchers call an”ultimate concern”–a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down.”

Q. Do you still talk about “grit”? 


A. Yes I do. I usually start each semester with a video and some discussion on displaying grit throughout the school year.


Q. What inspired you to talk about “grit”? 


A. I would like to see all of my students be successful. Angela Duckworth believes that “grit” is the number one predictor of success in school and in life. I happen to agree with her.


Q. What semester do you think students give the most grit?


A. It’s easiest for students to display characteristics of grit in the first quarter of the school year, but as the year drags on, it gets harder and harder to maintain. Time is truly the separator. Who can maintain for the long term? That is what true grit is all about.


Q. Do you consider how talking about “grit” can affect a student’s future? 


A. I hope it affects the lives of a few students in a positive way. As the teacher, you don’t always get to see the fruit of your labor and that is okay.


Q. What is another thing you want for students to remember about your class besides the talk about “grit”?  


A. Math class is not about learning any particular skill. It’s about learning how to solve challenging problems. If students can develop that ability in school, I’m confident they will be able to apply it to many areas of their life.