Sunday, December 24, 2017

Looking In the Rear View Mirror. A Reflection on 2017

It has been quite a while since I took to the keyboard and posted my reflections with teaching, learning and with life. For me, these past 6 months have been about discovery of who I am and finding my purpose. Whether as a principal, a parent, a spouse or simply a friend, I have committed myself to the powerful art of reflection.

With that in mind, each of us takes our own journey. We also stop and take inventory of the work we are passionate about, the families that engage us and the friendships that we thrive upon. As each of us moves ahead in our journey it is an essential part of the ride that we take a moment and look in the rear view mirror. Often times it is what we have accomplished that will give us direction in the days ahead. This creates a constant state of growth.

And, even though I have been silent from posting here on my page, I have been anything but silent in understanding the powerfulness of being connected with educators near and far. Whether learning from the blogging group "The Compelled Tribe" or being a part of the twitter chat #Ohedchat or learning alongside colleagues from the Hilliard City Schools, this academic year has pushed me in my understanding the greater good, the awesomeness of learning and importance of leaning on others.

With that in mind, here is a reflection of my 2017:

1. Struggle. Ending the 2016/2017 school year meant learning from mistakes. At times it was stressful and finding resolution with various situations was difficult. However, in the end, it came down to trust and understanding. The Power of the Team (as we share where I work) was never as important as it was in the spring. With that, the year concluded and students, teachers and friends geared up for what would be a fantastic summer ahead.

2. Balance. The summer of 2017. Memories made and moments cherished. We often lose balance as educators and families and friends are put on hold as we give so much to the educational institution we each work for. For me, the summer of 2017 was about reconnecting and keeping it that way. Embrace each moment and remember that life is a series of experiences. My goal is to ensure that the experiences shape my journey. No looking back here. Friends and family were my focus.

3. Celebration. What a start to the school year! The @wmscats started the year off with #1st3Days for the 2nd year in a row. We focused on relationships first. No content allowed. Our charge was to focus on getting to know our learners and our learners getting to know us. I had the pleasure to share this work with over 25 educators that have reached out via social media for our template this year. The power of being connected proved itself time and time again. Not to be outdone, the #OHedchat team kept it rolling each Wednesday night at 9PM EST with awesome conversations and professional growth. I am a better educator thanks to this experience.

4. Purpose. As 2017 wraps up, I was offered a new opportunity in my journey of serving others. Starting next year, I have the exciting opportunity to open the extension project of the Innovative Learning Center (soon to be Campus) for the Hilliard City Schools. Entering my 25th year of education in the fall, I will take all that I have learned in serving others and embrace this change.  Innovation, collaboration, growth mindset and design thinking will drive what we do for students. We each need to be "pushed" (my OneWord this past year) and this will do just that. I am excited to be pushed out of my comfort zone and take on this new role.

5. Hope. This reflection is essential. Whether it is the mistakes we make, the accomplishments we are blessed to be a part of or the people we encounter, there is always a sense of hope going forward. Leaning on others and being on this journey together makes us better. It has made me better. By no means have I reached an end. Rather I am in a constant state of reinventing who I am. I have fully welcomed the understanding that it is the team, and the attributes of each member of that team, that will give me hope and courage in 2018 and beyond.

Here is to your journey, your struggles, your successes and your story. Share it. Let others hear your passion for the work you do and the communities you serve. Pledge to yourself that you will push yourself in the year ahead. Find balance and above all else, celebrate.