We have so many duties as educators. This week I was reminded that one of the most important duties we have is that of the warrior.
We don’t just fight the good fight; we fight the right fight. We root for the underdog. We protect the innocent.
We are honorable. We are courageous.
We spend long hours away from our families to ensure that we are doing what is best for our students.
We do these things because it is our duty, our passion. It is in our blood. We will not stop. We will do what is right for children.
Thank you warriors. Here’s to you.
Here is your staff update for January 29th.
Have you ever experienced a moment when you were truly inspired? A moment when the words you were hearing made you want to stand up and cheer. A moment in which you were ready to take on any challenge, any crazy dream, and jump in head first. I had one of those moments on Thursday when Mark Tremayne and Sharon Esswein spent an hour at our administrator meeting helping us deepen our understanding of developing a growth mindset.
Mark and Sharon shared a video of clips of interviews with Will Smith over the years. His words speak volumes. I ask that you take ten minutes to watch the video which is embedded at the end of this post. Let his words sink in.
And reflect on this statement:
Next, I want you to think about our Dream Project. I want you to evaluate your ideas.
Are they realistic?
Or, are they so big that they could be called unrealistic?
We are not on a quest for mediocrity. We are creating something that has never been created before. We don’t have time for realistic.
Thanks Mark and Sharon for the inspiration.
Here is your staff update for January 22.
It’s January, that long, cold, dark month full of indoor recess and the passing of germs. It’s a time of year that we could easily get caught with a case of the winter blues or wrap up in a blanket on the couch and wait for spring. But, for teachers we know that the time from January to March brings huge growth for our students. Which is why, now, more than ever, we must be at the top of our game. We’re at an advantage right now because we know our students very well, we understand their strengths and weaknesses, we know what they enjoy and what they could live without. We have built relationships with the children we spend our days with. They are part of who we are. And, we owe it to our students to be at our best each day.
On Wednesday, we had our first R Factor training in which we learned the important skill of pressing pause and the dangers of being on autopilot. Let’s all recognize our autopilot moments. Let’s think back to the excitement of the beginning of the school year. Think about all of the ideas we had and things we wanted to try. Did we let those ideas fade as we drifted back to doing what we always do? Have we allowed ourselves believe that our students aren’t ready yet?
When this school year began what did you want to try? Have you tried yet? Jump in! Do it! Don’t wait until the end of the year to reflect and think about all the things you wanted to do.
Seth Godin speaks often about taking risks. On Thursday, I read this post from him and I think it’s just what we all need to hear this time of year:
It's all a mistake
...until it works.
That's what innovation is. Mistakes, experiments, mis-steps.
Until it works.
The process isn't to avoid the things that don't work. Because that means avoiding the things that might not work...
Instead, our job is to eagerly embrace the mistakes on the road to the impact that we seek.
Don’t avoid your ideas and goals because you’re on autopilot. Press pause. Gain clarity and courage. Take a risk, it just might work.
Here is your staff update for January 15.
I’ve always known that words are powerful, but until a few years ago I didn’t realize just how powerful ONE SINGLE WORD could be. In 2014 I read One Word That Will Change Your Life. The words in the book took me on a journey of reflection and discovery and helped me realize that I could change my life with just one word.
My first word
In 2014, I chose my first word.
During that year I set my sights on connecting with my family and friends, building my PLN through Twitter and connecting with other educators through my blog. In 2014, I stepped out of my comfort zone into a world of digital professional development. I connected with educators in Hong Kong and Louisiana to plan a global professional development opportunity for teachers using the book Teach Like a Pirate. We used Google Hangout to talk about the book and were even joined by Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate, for one of our Hangouts! How cool is that? And, I am sure that if it weren’t for my word, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to do any of it.
My Next Word
It took me no time at all to pick my word for 2015. I know myself well and one thing I know is that I am often quick to make decisions, quick to share my thoughts, and well, just plain quick. So, I decided to focus on being thoughtful in 2015. My goal was to slow down and take my time before making a decision, before sharing my thinking, before being , well, “quick”. I definitely thought about my word every day. I tried really, really hard to slow down and make thoughtful decisions but slowing down and being thoughtful was hard. This word taught me a lot about myself and even more about failure. I failed at being thoughtful more times than I succeeded. I have lost count of the times over the past year that I’ve said, “My word is ‘thoughtful’ if only I would have been more thoughtful, that would have turned out better.” What I learned in 2015 was that when I do slow down and take time to really think things through, great things happen.
The Big Reveal: My Word for 2016
I’ve been going around and around about my word for 2016. I decided that I needed to give myself time to think (I learned this trick in 2015), so I didn’t rush to have my word chosen on January 1. I thought about myself, my goals, my struggles, my failures and my successes. I tested some words, tried them out for a while to see how they felt and waited for one to “stick”.
Here are a few that I considered:
More (I really like this one-maybe 2017!)
Even though I liked all of those words, I just didn’t feel a connection to any of them. Then on Wednesday I spent some time reading through reflections and goals that my teachers wrote about the first part of the school year. As I read the thoughtful comments, I was moved by how openly and honestly they shared their insecurities, their struggles and their plans to grow and change. I read their words over and over again and marveled at just how amazing these teachers are. I sent each of them an email thanking them for taking the time to reflect, sharing some positive feedback and then asking them how they were doing with their goal. And, to my surprise many of them replied back to me with even more thoughtful words about their progress, their struggles and the things they still needed to learn. I loved the fact my teachers were thinking about growth. I loved that they were seeing our work as a journey. But it made me wonder if they take time to CELEBRATE their accomplishments and recognize how hard they work. So, I replied to one of my teachers with the following words:
You are amazing. Remember, you'll never feel "finished" because you are such a learner. So, I hope you take some time to celebrate all that you do.
Thus, my word was born! CELEBRATE will be my word for 2016. I will celebrate success, I will celebrate what is learned from failure, I will celebrate the little things and the big things. All too often, we can become so focused on the journey that we forget to stop and take in the sights. So, this year, as I continue my journey with my teachers I will take in the sights and celebrate along the way.
What do you need to celebrate? Please share!