When I was a teacher, I witnessed thousands of teenagers demonstrate this spirit of self-improvement. Students arrived in my English classroom with different talents, and nearly all of them left with more ability, deeper knowledge, and sharper skills. English class required students to read widely, write often, and talk about both reading and writing. It’s a course that demands metacognition, and my class was challenging. And, students who showed up daily, worked steadily, practiced through their assignments were successful.At the end of each academic year, I’d have my students review their major writings from the course (a portfolio, giving a long-term view) and write about what qualities they saw growing in their writing. This reflection nearly always resulted in a sense of achievement and pride—they could tangibly SEE how they had improved as writers.What if we each did an annual reflection of self-improvement? When we look at the longer view, I believe we see more than if we continue to look at only waves that have crashed violently. What if we look to see the ripples of our own amazing lives, content with where we are and committed to rise again?