I recently spent a long time coming up with my own personal mission statement. I was really excited about it. I was ready to dig in and get started!
Then, Jane Leach, a respected friend and colleague of mine shared that she recently finished reading One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. I just finished reading it and I’m SO inspired. It’s a must-read!
My word is CONNECT. I love my word. It connects to my mission statement and much more. Now, I’m ready to get started.
Read the book! Discover your word! Change your life!
Check out the ONE WORD video.
Today I was nominated for a Sunshine Award by a person who I think is one of the most exceptional educators I know, Cathy Mere! Cathy may not know this, but she is the reason why I started my blog in the first place! More about that later!!
What is a sunshine award?
Cathy Mere gives this description for the Sunshine Award on her blog:
Here is a description for the Sunshine Award shared by Matt Renwick:
The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger and then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know!
and the rules:
· Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
· Share 11 random facts about yourself.
· Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
· List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
· Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers
know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Okay here we go-11 random facts about me:
1. When I was in school I HATED to read! I’m not kidding; I don’t think I finished a real book until I was in college!
2. I used to be a runner until one day when I tore a ligament in my ankle. I was scheduled to have surgery on August 4, 2010 but found out I was pregnant a week before my surgery! Surprise! And a week after my surgery date I found out that I was pregnant with TWINS! DOUBLE SURPRISE! I still haven’t had that surgery and my twins will be 3 in March!
3. I’m left handed.
4. I won a trip to Hawaii from a game piece on a Snuggle dryer sheet box!
5. New York City is my favorite place in the world! If I could go anywhere on vacation it would by NYC. I love the Broadway shows, the shopping, the food, the people, those nuts the sell on the street, cabs, the subway, the buildings, everything!
6. I secretly wish I was a Rockette. (I follow them on Facebook and just started following them on Twitter, too!)
7. I met my husband at Bath and Body Works. He and one of his friends applied to work there over their Christmas break to meet girls. It worked!
8. I wish I had a cleaning person. I keep saying that I’m going to get one and then I can’t seem to justify spending the money for one.
9. I hate to cook, but I do it anyway. On Sundays I make at least 3 meals to have ready for the crazy school week!
10. I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble. I have an addiction to picture books. My newest favorites are wordless picture books, especially Journey by Aaron Becker and Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley.
11. Finally, one of the main reasons why I started my blog was so that I could participate in Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere’s #pb10for10 this summer!
Now to answer Cathy’s 11 Questions
1. When you look out the window or door of your house, what do you see? (What's your favorite view?)
I like looking out my kitchen window in the summer when my kids are playing in the front yard!
2. Ocean or mountains?
3. What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
My husband and I took our boys to New York City this summer. It was the best vacation because it was their first time on a plane and it was so much fun to see how excited they were. They also saw their first Yankee game!
4. What is the best book you read in 2013?
Mindset by Carol Dweck
5. Who is your favorite book character? Why?
Currently, Hank from Hank Finds an Egg, but this answer could change at any moment. He’s kind, caring and will do whatever he can to help a person (or baby bird) in need!
6. What is the one thing you wish you could have someone else to do for you?
Cook and clean my house (I know, that’s 2!)
7. What inspires you?
The simplest things inspire me. Sometimes it’s a tweet or a quote. Sometimes it’s a book I read. Sometimes it’s an experience I have. Sometimes it’s something that happens in a classroom or a question that I’m asked. I find inspiration everywhere.
8. What do you make time for?
Because I have such a crazy life, I make for time for reading, writing and tweeting after my kids go to bed! While there awake, it’s play time for me.
9. If you could spend a month on any continent with your expenses paid, where would you go? Why?
Europe. I’ve always wanted to see the places where my ancestors came from.
10. What are your favorite games to play?
Not monopoly! Anything but Monopoly.
11. If you could make one change in the world, what would you want to change?
Okay, now this is a tough question. I don’t even know where to begin. So I would eliminate hate so that we could have a world in which everyone chooses kindness. If you haven’t seen in yet-watch Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s “Kindness Thought Bubble” video.
1. Why did you become a teacher?
2. If you couldn’t have a job in education, what job would you choose?
3. What is your favorite movie? Why?
4. What is something that you want to do but you’ve never had the time, money, or chance to do it?
5. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or not living, who would it be? Why?
6. What is your earliest memory?
7. What is one piece of advice that you would give to a new teacher?
8. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
9. What book are you currently reading?
10. What book are you planning to read next?
11. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Invitations to Participate
I am not going to invite 11! To be honest I don’t think I know 11 people who blog! So here are a few more nominees!
Herb Higginbotham A Journey To the Principalship
Jodie Bailey Mathematical Musings
Scott Jones The Lead Goose
Tonya Buelow Learning, Growing and Reflecting Educator
Deb Frazier Primary Perspective
Kevin Buchman Positive Ripple
When I think back to my first few years of teaching I can remember constantly telling my students what to do each step of the way. I remember frequently having to stop teaching to redirect students. I remember students rushing through work to get finished and then having nothing to do. I remember looking at the clock thinking, what are we going to do now. And, I remember thinking that this was not the way I had envisioned my classroom to be operating but I just wasn't sure what to do.
Over time, I was lucky to have had the benefit of participating in some amazing professional development that helped me refine my practice. I became a Literacy Coach and found that many teachers struggled with the same things I did early on. Over the years, I have found myself having similar conversations with many frustrated, stressed out teachers. Often times the most well-intentioned, hardworking teachers feel like all of their hard work is getting them and their students nowhere. They are stuck in a cycle of telling students what to do and how to do things and yet the students never seem to take ownership. Have you been there? I have. Are you one of those frustrated teachers?
So I think it’s about time to share my advice with anyone who would like to take it.
1. Hit the Reset Button
The beautiful thing about this time of year is that you have the chance to “hit the reset” button. Take some time to think about what drives you crazy in your classroom or what annoys you! Then, envision that time of day operating perfectly. Picture it. Hear it. Feel it. When you go back to school make it happen. It’s okay to change a routine, it’s okay to shuffle your daily schedule around. Tell your students what you are doing, why you are doing it and let them play a part in setting the expectations!
2. Work Smarter Not Harder
In my opinion, it should be against the law to do lesson plans more than a day or two in advance. Now, don’t panic! You need to have an idea of what you’re aiming for, what your goal is. But, the map for how to get there is created by your students. When you spend hours planning a week or two weeks worth of lessons you then feel emotionally attached to “getting through” them. Instead, have an idea of where your students are headed, take time each day to look at their work and decide where they need to go next.
Yes, this can seem scary at first, but trust me, you will feel so much more successful because your students will be more successful because you will be using their work to make instructional decisions!
3. Pick One Thing To Do Well and Do It Well
That’s right! Pick one thing and learn it, read about it, ask questions about it and make it something that you feel very confident about. No one, especially teachers in their first year or two, can feel completely confident with every aspect of teaching. So, own the fact that you don’t know everything and pick one thing that you want to learn as much as you can about. After you feel confident, then pick something else. Give yourself permission to be a learner!!
4. Ask For Help
If you are lucky enough to have an expert in your building then don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!! Ask the teacher who has the best classroom management if you can sit in his room during your planning period and just see how things operate. Then try something you learned! After a few days, ask that same teacher to come to your room, watch you teach and provide you with some feedback. This is the best professional development you could ever receive!
You can pay now or pay later. I suggest paying now. Invest the time in refining your practice now and the payoff will be huge later! Then you won't need this...
I have the great pleasure of working in a school district that challenges me to grow professionally each and every day. As I was eating Christmas cookies and discussing holiday plans at school the day before heading off to break, I received an email from my Superintendent. He had sent an email to all administrators in my school district assigning us the task of writing our own personal mission statement. He framed this task around the story of “A Christmas Carol” and asked us to think about a tough question:
If you were to leave your position in five years, what would you want to look back and say you accomplished?
My initial thought was, “Darn, my boss gave me homework over Christmas break!” Then I started to think of it as an opportunity to spend the next two weeks just thinking about and dreaming about how I would answer this question.
One night I came across a blog post from George Couros called “3 Questions to Guide Your Vision”. Within this post there was one sentence that struck a chord with me. George says that one of the things he feels “is important in a leadership position is that you build capacity and create an environment that eventually will not need you”. This statement got the ball rolling for me as I hammered down my plans for a mission statement.
Then I watched Kid President's newest video called “How to Change the World”! And I thought, “That’s it! Kid President is a genius! The world is changed by ordinary people!” And, I was ready to write my mission statement.
So, thank you George Couros and Kid President for inspiring me!
Here are my goals for my J.W. Reason story of 2018:
-We are connected globally-our school is connected with schools, businesses and individuals from around the globe who learn, create and innovate with us.
-Our environment breeds inspiration and innovation-We come to school each day to a place where children and adults are inspired to make the world a better place-find problems and work together to solve them. And by work together, I mean work with people from all over the world to solve these problems.
-Teachers are leaders-each teacher is in charge of his or her own professional development, teachers challenge each other’s thinking and learn and grow together. Teachers are free to make decisions that will be best for each student as an individual and help to set each child on their individual path to success.
-We educate children and entire families-We have a school in which parents have access to the services they need such as English language classes, assistance in finding health care and social services, and are provided opportunities to give back to the community by sharing their talents with others. School is a place where parents also learn the tools they need to build the foundational reading, writing and math skills to help their children be successful. Education does not start on the first day of kindergarten; our school will help provide educational opportunities for all children and families so that when our students walk through the door of their kindergarten classroom they will be more than ready to change the world!
-We are a place where everyone can BE AWESOME and change the world!
That’s my mission statement---what’s yours?
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.