Wednesday, July 15, 2020

One A Day. Day 3

Restless, anxious, worried. We are at a time in our world in which there are more days waking up with these emotions than any other. What will school look like? Will students return in just a few short weeks? Will teachers feel safe and supported?

Recently, teachers were referred to as "essential employees" during this pandemic. And, while teachers are always essential in the education of our youth, is it accurate that they qualify for this distinction in such a time of unknown?

Police, fire, medical. That speaks to me as an essential employee. Keeping the food chain supply running. Again, essential. What we have defined as "essential" is different in the eyes of many. (That is an argument for another day.)

Yet, during this pandemic and with schools set to re-open in just a few weeks, teachers are now being placed in this category. Essential.

Mental health, social well being, academic growth and providing up to two meals a day to many of our students are all important aspects of being in the field of education.

Proudly and eagerly and if given the opportunity, and valuing the career path I chose over 25 years ago, I am committed to being, and most certainly believe, educators are essential today, tomorrow and the weeks and years to come.

Will I still be restless, you bet. Will we have all the answers to all the unknowns, doubtful. Will there be days of anxiousness, yes there will. However, will I step up and do what I am asked? 100%.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

One A Day, Day 2

Day 2.

Today is another day to learn, grow, lead and listen. Impacting others and taking in knowledge from those that can share their expertise.

I've never thought of my self as an expert in much of anything. If anything. There are a lot of things I think I am good at but nothing I could say I am an expert at.

I think of those that have refined their craft. Athletes, musicians, artists and entertainers. There are definitely educational leaders that I would consider experts in their field. Those that I turn to when we seek guidance and direction and we lean on their knowledge. Rick Wormeli for starters.

In education, I continue to learn in the hopes that over time my ability and desire to constantly get better at what I do can be the difference for someone else. Focusing on being knowledgable in many areas of this field in which I have give of myself hopefully helps others. And in return, helps me.

Are you an expert in something? What is it and how do you define that? I would love to hear your definition and how it applies to your work, your life and your world.

Monday, July 13, 2020

One A Day.

You have to start somewhere. Somehow, some way.

Been gone from this for far too long. Some of my best learning came from writing. Rather, it came from reading. Or was it reflecting? Or was it all 3?

Great educators, great friends, great people entered my world in education (and beyond) through the platform of writing and reading and reflecting. Blogging.

I am not the most prolific writer. My days may not be nearly as exciting as your days. You are probably more well read. You probably write more, share more and therefore learn more. But I am not going to allow that fear of failure stop me from taking another run at this.

I have the time. I have the desire. And, like you, simply want to ready for tomorrow. Whatever that may look like.

So, going to start with a blank page. Not going to overthink it. I am going to just write.

And maybe, very possibly, I will learn more today than I knew yesterday.

I am challenging myself to write One A Day, starting today.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Grateful for the Team

What is your favorite quote when it comes to the team work of your school or organization? While there are many, there has to be one that stands out to you.

For me, the team that I am surrounded by continues to show and demonstrate the abilities we have in making a difference in a students life and in a teachers role. It is not just about impacting the learner, it is also about impacting the colleagues we work with each day.

This morning, the leadership team I work with most closely had the opportunity to share out the great things that are happening by the entire staff. The Campus staff are the ones with students each and every moment of every day.

On the Innovation Campus we take great pride in the experience of our students. We emphasize that it is the interactions that our students have with adults, the relationships that are formed and the active learning that takes place that makes all of the difference in our world.

Once we focus on that - the relationships, the lessons and the experience, then all of the pieces and parts come together as one.

The Team is making their difference.

Today, the Leadership Team of Stacy, Scott, Lauren, Trevor and Jennifer had the amazing privilege and opportunity to share out all of the incredible moments that are happening in every aspect of our Campus.

For the work that they do, the time they devote to this Campus, the way in which they share their passion for those around them, I am grateful. We are grateful for the teachers we work with, the team that leads the work, the parents that send us their children to serve, the vision of the district that provides us these opportunities to do what we do and especially the students who come eager and willing to be engaged in this place.

This team. Our team. Whether it is small in numbers or big in size, is what makes the difference in the teaching, learning and leading that we experience each day. I am grateful for all of this, and more.

More gratitude to come...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Power of Friendship

Whether it is the people that we work with, the friends we have created through social media platforms like Twitter, or strangers that become life-long friends, I am grateful for each and everyone one of the connections I have made.

Recently I ran into an issue with my blog page, domain account and understanding and fixing what to many is a simple task, is not so simple to merge, direct and connect the pieces and parts of the web world and blog sites.

Through countless emails to the domain provider and hosting site, scouring You Tube for self-help videos and literally taking hours to engage in online tech chats, it was the power of having personal connections that not only came to my rescue but also resolved the issues I was facing.

With this experience it reinforced what I already knew. The power of relationships, also known as friendships, and the people that sat by my side (literally) or where hundreds of miles away and took time away from their own hectic schedules to help me, is what made all the difference in the world.

And, while I am grateful for technology and the tools that we are afforded because of it, I am most grateful for the people that help us in all aspects of our lives.

In this moment, I am most grateful for Kelly and Jennifer for everything they did when I needed it most. I am beyond grateful for your patience, knowledge and most importantly, your friendship.

More gratitude to come...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

You Matter. Every. Single. Day.

As an educator, you matter.

How you engage with your students, your colleagues and your families, it all matters.

While I have always been intentional in how I interact with others, I have been intentionally, and quietly, observing what those around me are doing in the days, weeks and months to start this school year.

While we have been saying for years that the power of relationships with our students (and families and colleagues) is at the core of our work as educators, taking it a step further and showing the depth of those relationships and exploring the mindset of how we make others feel and how they come and go each day, is what truly matters.

Creating a sense of community, matters.

Listening and supporting our students that experience known (and yet to be known trauma), matters.

Being willing to step up and step in to teach and learn with our colleagues, matters.

Leading with empathy, matters.

Growing alongside of your students, matters.

Being able to recognize and respond to our strengths, and our weakness, matters.

As an educator, every interaction of every day, matters. And, while we can't always be our best self of every minute of every day, knowing that we are impacting the lives of those we do interact with and how we respond to them, is what matters.

As you head home tonight after another long day of dedication to your students and your community, know that what you gave of yourself today, mattered. And, what you provide your community of learners tomorrow will matter just as much as the day before.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Back to School Checklist for Educators

By now, many educators are back into the new school year and off and running as they design their experience for students. Creating an environment and community that supports the learning is critical as students come through the school doors and find their space with the walls of your classroom and your school.

As we scroll through social media, parents and teachers alike are sharing pictures, quotes and motivational messages to ensure that this school is even better than the last. As an educator, the profession we have chosen is constantly evolving and once again we are reminded of the role that we have chosen and its impact is greater than ever before.

And, while some teachers are still a week or two out from the year starting, you get the added bonus of reading and seeing the very messages that are moving us to do great things in our communities from those that are already a week, or two, or more into the 2019/2020 school year.

For all educators, whether having started your year or still eagerly anticipating your first day of class, here are some reminders to help ensure and remind that it is how you start your year that will make all the difference in the eyes of those you serve.

1. Your #1st3Days (and beyond) are the Foundation. If you are on Twitter, I encourage you to search that hashtag and see what your colleagues are up to around the globe. And, check out the other hashtags that are trending around education. Being connected and learning from others is just the beginning of your own learning journey as you head back to school. Sharing out what we do to start a school year is an intentional movement of sharing ideas and experiences that will help in holding yourself accountable and make sure you are putting the content second and relationships first.

2. Create Your Space. It is not just a matter of what you learn but where you learn. An inviting space is a powerful space. While today's student continues to morph and learning styles grow over time, work with local businesses that could help you outfit your space to make it perfect. Create a space that inspires, fits and supports your teaching and the students learning.

3. Grow Leaders Starting on Day 1. While the teacher is often at the front of the room, make sure to grow the minds of those the come to your room and find the leaders within. Give your students a voice as you create your expectations for the year. Not just the "don't do's" but also the "must have's". Things like trust, communication, permission to take risks and permission to fail should be right up there with respect, kindness and compassion.

4. Model it. We have heard it hundreds of times over. Practice what you preach. Or in this case, model what you want from others and let your actions speak for themselves. Whether leading classrooms of students or a team of educators, being present and giving of your best every day is essential to what you are going to get in return. Remember, it is not a sign on a wall that is going to get the best out of your team, it is how you model what you want that will get your greatest return.

5. Emphasize Empathy. The Design Thinking framework begins with empathy. Understanding and applying Social Emotional Learning is all about empathy both for and of others. If you are familiar with the work of Tim and Brian Kight and the Focus3 team, they emphasize the need for empathy. This also leads right into the foundation of what we do as educators each day. Build trust comes from having compassion, building character and showing competence. If you emphasize empathy, your results will speak for themselves.

In the end, take everything you know, you have read, you talk about with others and that is right in education and apply it during these first few days of the year. Create that base, support others, lean on your colleagues and bring in the community to help you grow in who you are what we get to do each day. Whether it is the power of the team, doing the work or simply being the best version of yourself each day, let's own it and be all that is good, if not great, in education today. Our students and our community deserves it.