Monday, September 7, 2015

"Yet"

Heading into a new school year can bring excitement and anticipation. Eagerness to meet new friends, colleagues and classmates and, of course, the beginning of the journey of learning. Teachers are ready to implement best practice and their administrators are ready to support them each step of the way. Everyone will work in concert to provide the best experience and the best lessons possible. It will be inspiring.

However, a new year also brings challenges, obstacles and the unknown. Students are entering environments in which they are having to make new friends, learn the styles of new teachers and learn new expectations and routines. Teachers too are taking on unchartered roles as they continue to be lifelong learners themselves. Implementing one2one, incorporating a personalized learning experience and of course, always doing what is best for kids and being innovative each step of the way. It can be overwhelming.

As we came back together as a staff prior to the school year we talked about our mindset. Growth vs Fixed. And how we as teachers and learners ourselves could shape the climate of the year awaiting. With all of this excitement and anticipation and conversation there is a word that we as a community of learners adopted for the year ahead with the hopes that it will propel us to great things each step of the way. As we were talking about these unknowns, these fears and these opportunities for new learning, we know that students and teachers alike will be faced with doubt, worry and a desire to retreat to something more comfortable. Therefore, as this community of teachers, leaders and learners ourselves, we will add this simple word to our students and our teachers (and our own) vocabulary. When met with resistance, a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the brain that is telling us to stop or worse case, not even try to begin with, this will become our response. This word will be a part of our growth mindset.

Yet.

This year, as we recognize students becoming worried, fearful or anxious about material, relationships and responsibilities we will support them in their learning and work with them to be successful and accomplish what lies in front of them by adding the word "yet" when they say they can't, won't or have doubt. Ourselves as educators, teachers and administrators when we are handed moments of challenges and adversities in our day we too will implement this mindset into our decisions and our direction and be reminded of "yet". We will model what we expect of others. We will be relentless in our pursuit of success. And of course, failure may be a part of this growth but growth will occur none-the-less.

With that, can you add "yet" to your work? What will you do when faced with challenges? Will you fold to pressures and the weight of our profession or will you regroup, regain your focus and forge ahead? Will you add "yet"?

I encourage you to purposefully add this simple word to your classroom or school building/district and to your mindset this year and watch what unfolds. Already I have grown in my leadership and modeled how I expect others to do the same. As someone who thought they were always a person to persevere, this intentionality of "yet" has added that much more value to what I do.