Sunday, February 22, 2015

Be Daring.


The opportunities are limitless. In your role and the position you have, you make a difference in the lives of children and adults each and every day. The number of interactions you have with others is countless. Every moment of every day you have the ability to influence the mind and spirit of a child or adult and guide them on their journey in learning. It is an amazing responsibility.  

Whether as a teacher of students or an administrator of teachers, be reminded of the potential you have. Recognize the opportunities throughout your day to be bold. Dare to make a difference.

We have a gift. We are a gift. 

We have the gift to bring an experience to another person that is yearning for direction and knowledge. They may not ask, yet we deliver. We have each been tasked to make an impact. Do so with fearlessness.  

My daily checklist includes:
  • Take a risk.
  • Lead, follow. Change your role.
  • Listen when you would typically speak.
  • Share where you would normally listen.
  • Embrace change.
  • Ask questions.
  • Follow your passion.
  • Teach like you would want to learn.
  • Inspire others.
  • Foster relationships.
  • Love what you do and who you serve.

Be daring. 

Dare to push yourself and be extreme in your teaching and leading. Step outside of your comfort zone. Push yourself personally and professionally. You'll be better for it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Learning through Listening

I enjoy writing. Even more so, I enjoy reading what others share whether they are blogs or books. It is a reminder of the great minds that I am surrounded by on a daily basis. It coincides with the craft of listening. Pausing to hear the words of others.

Each time I come to the computer I am hoping I will write the post of all posts. Conjuring up ideas that will flood my brain and hoping the topic will come naturally as I begin to write. It is this writing that assists me in being reflective of the work I do. The journey has been intense.

Wanting to be eloquent with my words of reflection, there are often moments I turn to my peers for ideas and a direction. It is the work of others that often inspires me and what I write.

Today I was flooded with many amazing shares by members of my PLN. From near and far, I was provided moments of learning one post at a time. Sharing my day with you through some of these amazing writers, thinkers and leaders would be a gift all in itself.  I hope you enjoy their posts as much as I did.

Today was a day of learning through listening. Listening to the words of others. Enjoy.

Bobby Dodd and his advice on How to Get the Most Out of Your Blog is full of great suggestions that can be applied immediately. He suggests stretching your blog, and I agree, to grow your audience and more importantly your brain.
This post is designed to give you ideas on how to maximize your blog.  There are different areas of your blog you can use to maximize communication and help others.   
Let's look at some of the ways you can stretch your blog: 
Choosing the Platform Its important to have the right blogging platform.  You need to choose the right platform that fits your needs. Whether you choose WordPressBlogger, Tumblr, or Medium (and there are others), choose the one that will enable you to do what you need it to do.  When I first began blogging, I used a blogging application set up in website my school district used.  It was limited in what it could do and my wife suggested I switch over to Blogger because of the ease of use.
Jennifer Hogan writes about Four Ways to Conquer Fear. She reminds us that rear is real and is an emotion we each have to deal with. Great suggestions within the post that will have you embrace fear, not hide from it.
Take a No-Excuses Approach. This requires a high level of self-awareness and honesty with self. It takes being able to recognize excuses and disregard them. Excuses can disguise themselves as reasons, like “I don’t have time,” or “That’s how we’ve always done it,” or “I’m too busy.” 
Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone call you out on your excuses. Find someone who can do this for you, and say “Thank You” when they point out your excuses. Then throw the excuses out the window and get on with whatever it is you are afraid to try or do.
Dennis Shug shares is perspective on the following: Is Leadership Style Born...or Made? This is a question that is asked time and time again as we fill roles that are associated with leadership in our districts. You will explore the concept of learned leadership.
See people as they are, but also how they can be. The best classroom teachers and school leaders are perceptive. They have a heightened sense and ability to simultaneously identify strengths, assess and target needs, and draw out potential in individuals and in groups of people. If you’ve ever taught a student to read, you can relate to the elation associated with this feeling. If you’ve ever coached teachers on improving classroom management, lesson design, or how to engage students at a high level, you understand this.
Greg Armamentos is eloquent with the post - The Precious Familiar in which he forces the reader to look at those around us in our work and the voice that we each carry. Non-traditional in his writing, you will be inspired what you read.
We’re funny, you and I. Always chasing those special moments, and treasured people. Until we have them. Then it is on, to the next. We allow the precious, to become familiar. Losing their luster, at least in our eyes, and our hearts.
Monica Moss shares her post I'm scared you won't love me anymore which reminds us exactly whey we got into the world of education, relationships. With this post you will pledge to yourself to dedicate each moment of each day to the students you serve.
The hardest part of my job is and will always be when I have to give consequences to a student who has broken the rules. Don't get me wrong. I know it's necessary, but sometimes it's difficult when you know the background of the child. I have been working closely with a child whose home life isn't like mine. So sometimes it isn't easy to understand what he is going through. However I have tried to spend more time listening. 
Ben Gilipin and his diving into the world of mental illness in the world of education with the post, Change by Addition. It is powerful in every sense of the word. This post will instill the blessings we are provided each day with the students and staff we are surrounded by.
The child that we all feel fear for.  The child that for little to no reason explodes.  The child that withdraws and is noticeably depressed.  The child that shows ZERO remorse. The child that has an emotional impairment.
During my time as a classroom teacher and now, principal, my most challenging issues have easily been students with an emotional impairment.  I can vividly remember each and every case.  I can still remember the meetings that lasted month after month after month with hardly any action...until... the blowup!
As you read these posts and others, make sure to comment within theirs or on mine if time permits. Feedback is something we model. As always, yours would be appreciated.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Collective Effort

We can't do these jobs alone. The days are long, the work is hard and the reality is that we need each other in order to reach our goals.

Teachers are the greatest example of what a collective effort can get you. Team meetings, department time, hallway conversations and passing moments of engagement are all a testament to the power of dialogue.

Educators, like no other group of people in all my years of work, do it better than anyone else. Embracing each others ideas, showing the utmost respect and care for each other and unconditionally supporting one another during the best and worst of times is evident day in and day out.

As we head into the Ohio Middle Level Association State Conference, I am energized knowing I am surrounding myself with some of the best the region has to offer. These educators are being the given the opportunity to gather at a location set a side for some intense professional development and then take this knowledge back to their respective districts. The cycle continues. The ideas will travel. The collective effort will be showcased at this event.

I encourage you to take the time this week to reflect on your role in the collective effort. Think about the conversations you are having and what you bring to the table. Ensure that you are part of the team and moving the organization forward. Be a problem solver, a solution seeker, a lesson planner, a passion finder and a student-centered educator. Be a leader, an advocate and a listener.

Be a part of the collective efforts of those you work with. We are better for it.  Here is a quick video that reminds us of who teachers truly are.