In 2012 when SUCCESS first reported on Tammy Oehlke, a career preparation teacher-coordinator at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas, she sang the praises of SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge. She talked about using the book, which is the heart of the SUCCESS for Teens personal-development curriculum, in her career preparation classes and of her desire to become “almost a motivational speaker for teens” based on the book’s lessons.
Today Oehlke has made strides toward that goal, incorporating SUCCESS for Teens as one of the key resources in her new teen-leadership elective class. “The book is great in teaching about decision-making and positive attitudes. All of these points are important for all leaders.”
Oehlke, who has taught for 21 years, estimates that she has introduced about 500 students to the book since she began using it six years ago, and she never tires of the way teens respond to it. (The SUCCESS Foundation funds the program, donating hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs. SUCCESSFoundation.org offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.)
“It’s interesting to see the reactions of students as we read the book and complete the various lessons. They get it and understand that confidence and not giving up are so important.”
Oehlke recalls a female senior who confessed she lacked motivation because her parents never helped her or supported her in her pursuits. “She told me, ‘After reading SUCCESS for Teens, I realize that if I don’t give up but do have a positive attitude, I will get where I want to go in life,’ ” Oehlke says. (Chapter 2, “Attitude Is Everything,” is consistently one of her students’ favorite parts of the book.)
To hear that parents show apathy toward their kids “breaks my heart,” Oehlke says. “So many parents today do not know how or possibly do not take the time to guide their children in the direction for success. Some parents leave it up to the teachers and school to do that.”
And Oehlke helps bridge that void with SUCCESS for Teens, which she also finds to be personally rewarding. One lesson especially speaks to her.
“My biggest point from the book is that small choices you make every day have a huge impact on your life,” the teacher says. “Make wise choices! It’s a must for today’s kids to understand that they have to take responsibility for their direction in life once they reach the upper grades in high school.”
This article appears in the December 2015 issue of SUCCESS magazine.