Tell your story: what’s in the middle

Part 1: The early years if you haven’t read it yet.

Knowledge is power or so they say. It is something you have to go further in life. It’s the epicenter to move forward and to glean information. Knowing what I know now about learning disabilities compared to then has truly changed my outlook on society today. Kids learn differently. I learned differently and because of that a passion was born.

Learn something new

I saw so many struggles in my elementary through high school life that it enabled me to want to help others. Originally, I wanted to be a pediatric nurse but with Dyslexia, I flipped numbers often and would be completely heart broken if I accidentally gave the wrong dose to a child. It doesn’t happen every time but it takes one time to crush someone and I couldn’t handle it if I did harm.

Therefore, I went back to my roots in helping others in a different capacity. A capacity that supports students, has heartfelt moments, and makes a difference every day. I declared education and special education my second day of college and was on the track to my goal. However, there were still many moments of hardships from day 2 to graduation. Learning some things just wasn’t easy. Geology about ate my lunch (all the names) and some of my education/professional classes made me study more than I ever knew how. But I made it. It wasn’t easy but I did it and have never looked back and didn’t appreciate the struggles thus far.

Learning uncomfortable

I was ready to work with students. I loved my observation and student teaching opportunities but wanted my own classroom to see students thrive and grow in. However, life took a different turn on my educational journey. I had the opportunity to substitute in three districts for three years. It wasn’t what I had planned but it really made me appreciate how much substitutes did from day to day as well as what teachers and paraprofessionals did as well. In those three years of subbing, I was a long term sub, para, aide, and teacher in EC-12. Every job gave me a deeper understanding of how I could serve students and staff.

For three years, I didn’t realize how much substituting would change me. I saw different ages, different struggles, and different campuses put their hearts and souls into their students. It was eye opening and amazing. These three years shaped who I wanted to be as an educator and who I thought I wanted to be. Seeing the struggles and celebrations made me develop a love for relationship building and rapport with students and staff. We spent hours together and I will never forget the memories and advice I was given. I formed so many connections with staff and am grateful for the experiences to this day.

Three years passed and I received an opportunity to uproot my life, move across the state, and start a four year venture in an elementary school. While it wasn’t easy, I learned so much and hope to instill more into lives on my new journey.

To be continued in part 3…

 

Tell your story: the early years

Growing up, learning came slow for me. It was like a breeze, of sorts, that gave glimmers of gust every now and again. I struggled, I cried, and I wondered “why” it was so hard for me to learn. Being the oldest child in my family, this was all new territory for my family. The school districts tried and some were unsuccessful to give me the supports I needed to be successful. When I was in fifth grade, I finally received the learning disabilities diagnosises as to WHY I was struggling so much and it was finally a reason. It was like a breath of fresh air finally blew threw and gave my family and I the answers were knew were there but didn’t test to in the school districts.

Those diagnosises still follow my journey today and make it tough to learn some new information, to hold information, and to not transpose numbers. They are not an excuse however but a reason. A reason I so desperately needed to why I learned differently and why learning was more difficult for me than others.

Something I learned early on was learning looks so different for many. It’s not about the diagnosis you have, it’s about how you move forward each day. I am grateful to have a small friend and family base that was in my corner but still faced hardships and trials. With each hardship, there’s a lesson intertwined within. It’s not always easy to recognize but it’s there. A lesson that allows one to see something others may miss or not notice.

Looking back, my lessons were through trials, at first, but made me a better person and educator to this day. Seeing others struggle for answers and diagnosises tugs at my heartstrings as someone who has learning disabilities and as someone who has been through struggles. However, these diagnosed learning difficulties don’t define who I am today. They are apart of my story. They make my story unique and my difficulties real. They are intertwined in my story and give me understanding for what I notice and work with each day.

Everyone has a story to tell. Some have hardships and others have tragedies that make their story and who they are today. Everyone’s journey is unique. Tell your story and pour your heart out. Be vulnerable and real each day. Use your knowledge to understand and guide your students around you each and every day.

Never, never, never give up!.png

Part 1 of 3 on a journey to tell my story and how it allowed me to find my passion in special education and working with students will all types of differences.

 

 

Speak up for the good

Recently, Aaron Hogan wrote a blog post about The Good Old Days and it really struck a cord and got my attention. There are so many moments, interactions, and memories that stick out to me as great. Not just great but meaningful, awesome, and thought provoking and good for my soul. From conversations on twitter to face to face interactions, something someone has said touches my heart and makes me think about what’s next or how I can do better.

Think about the last nice thing someone said to you? Did you tell that person how it impacted you? Did you give a compliment or thank them for what they said? If not, why not?

So many times we, as educators, forget what we teach our students every day. We build up relationships and hearts all day long. However, we sometimes forget to do the same for adults. We require the compliments, relationships, kindness, and memories too. We MUST educate and give feedback or compliments to one another to take note and speak up for the good surrounding us. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It just comes from the heart. A simple “thank you” or “I really like how you did something” make a difference. When someone stops in their day to reach out and give you that comment or feedback, it matters.

Think about a time that touched your heart or when someone complimented you. How did it make you feel?

Make someone’s day by reciprocating that feeling. Speak up for the good. Give feedback, compliments, and cultivate matters of the heart when someone impacts you. It may just make someone’s day by the words that you speak or type.

Cultivate matters of the heart & speak up for the good! (1)

A matter of hours: Challenge accepted

Recently, I participated in Aaron Hogan’s Teacher Myth (#teachermyth) twitter chat and it got me thinking. Not just about writing but about the impact every one of us have on lives that walk into our school buildings, our hallways, and into our classrooms. The lives that walk into our classroom are vulnerable, tenderhearted, and real. They challenge us to be better, to do more, and to make a difference.

Every day, we have an opportunity to impact others. Whether it is in conversation, in the classroom, or through typed words. It’s about the intent and the power to stop your day to converse with someone. Every day, we have a matter of hours with our students to truly make a difference. Every interaction, every teachable lesson, every hour, we make a difference. Taking the time to instill good, heartfelt conversations mean the world to our students. Sometimes, it’s all it takes for our students to change their day and sometimes those interactions change ours too. It’s the little things like their sayings, their stories, and their heart that is, in turn, shared with us. Their heart grows with every interaction. In just a matter of hours, we have an opportunity to leave an impact each and every day.

It’s not just students though. It’s every interaction throughout our day. We have an opportunity to make someone’s day, deepen understandings, and to continue along a journey of understanding and impact together. Words matter and the interactions, whether online or in person, make a difference along the way. It may be a twitter chat or a face to face conversation but it can truly make or break someone’s day.

Encourage, listen, and speak as if the memories will make someone’s day and journey better. Whether conversations are with students or our colleagues, we choose to be vulnerable, have meaningful conversations, and live up to the matter of hours between us and everyone else.

There are 24 hours in a day and every interaction, conversation, and written text matters. Remember that words can make or break someone’s heart and journey. A matter of hours matters & every interaction leaves a memorable impact on someone’s heart.

A matter of hours.png

Hashtag power

Often times, you see a hashtag on social media and don’t think anything of it. They seem to be everywhere. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, they are popping up everywhere. The truth is that the little hashtag is a POWERFUL tool that is giving YOU to the ability to search about anything and everything you’d like within it. It’s a game changer!

Hashtag blog power

One little hashtag, for instance #Leadlap or #DBC, opens doors for a catalog of keyword searches to occur. Hashtags are chronological, active, and live for all to utilize. When people utilize hashtags, you can just click on a link and it takes you to the source hashtag feed. The coolest thing about hashtags are that people use them everyday. The latest feed is updated every time someone utilizes the hashtag. You can search by hashtag and come up with so many ideas to utilize and glean information from.

In the days of chats and branding, hashtags are a game changer. You can find out information by searching or clicking the hyperlink, follow a chat, and read what others have posted as the day goes on. Hashtags, on twitter, are happening everywhere. It’s nice to be able to catalog thoughts by specific keywords and utilize them later.

Hashtags are booming and have become a KEY social media tool. Hashtags are categorized, collected, curated, and cataloged for later use. The best thing is that they are also searchable. In the world of social media, hashtag power is booming each and every post. Think before you tweet…does this need a hashtag?

Hashtag Power

 

Encouraged with courage

BBCourage

When I was growing up, I wanted to take on the world, help everyone and everything that came into my path, and make each person’s day just a little bit better. It is my personality, to this day, to want others to be successful. Call it an innate gift or my passion but it holds true to this day.

Still to this day, I have a desire to want to make someone’s day just a little bit better. Either by a compliment, handwritten note, call or text of encouragement, or just a simple thank you. I don’t do it for the recognition; I do it for the connection and appreciation for others. Enter in social media and the courage, encouragement, and compliment train has gone full speed ahead.

Every day, it is amazing to see the interactions between others on social media. I am blown away by the encouragement and courage of others doing amazing things for their students, staff, and people in their cities, towns, or areas they live in. It amazes me by the courage some have and it’s something to strive for to be able to reach a larger population as time goes on. Most I encounter provide encouragement to have courage.

Courage is a powerful idea. It is something one has to do something out of the ordinary and to be seen. That’s hard! But it gets easier as the idea of being seen gets easier and easier. Giving a compliment or a congratulations is easy. Talking to a mentor or person you admire with all eyes or screens available to see is tough. But the output of encouragement is so great! The courage flows through every comment, like, and connection each day.

Social media has provided the gift to many to connect. To talk, to read, to share, and to encourage one another. Social media has also given me courage to do more, to go beyond the status quo, and to want more for my students and population I work with. I see ideas that go above my capacity and are something to strive for in the future. I also see ideas that are so big, I wonder if I could achieve something that great. But then, I remember it’s not always right then but one day.

One day, my encouragement from others, the steps I take on a path to a new journey will reap the benefits to fulfill a new idea. Every interaction with encouragement from social media gives me encouragement to have courage. To go farther distances, to reach more, and to meet the needs of others each day. Full speed ahead with courage and encouragement to do more for others!

Leaders

 

Find your niche & own it!

This morning, I participated in the #leadLap twitter chat and was blown away with the topic of how to own your PD and cultivate what you learn with the world. More specifically, this is a huge topic of interest of mine for a three reasons.

Make connections

Being visibly supported and connected gives the learner (YOU) a circle of support that continuously grows each and every day as well as each connection you make. Your PLN continuously stretches your current mindset, gives you food for thought, and allows YOU to become a better educator with support each and every day! Twitter has become a HUGE part in my life. Not just based on the conversations; based on the support it brings me each and every day! Reason number 1: The built in support that makes YOU a better educator for the good of the community you serve.

The wealth of knowledge shared online and through the word of mouth multiplies each time you communicate with others. From sharing quotes to sharing book resources, your capacity to share with others blooms with every interaction and opportunity. Not a day goes by that I don’t read or hear about a good resource or a new idea. Reason number 2: New ideas and resources for you to look into, read, and utilize with your community of learners and educators around you.

Life is likea cup of tea.

Lastly, the power of your PLN makes YOU a better all around person each and every day. The community of support, the sharing of ideas, and the compassion so many give and lend to you and others shines each and every day. The power of your PLN makes YOU a better person inside and out. It is amazing to form life long friendships, come together in real life, and share your stories. I am amazed at the good social media has brought to my life each and every day and will never take for granted the connections I have that makes me a better person today. Reason 3: Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) empower YOU as a professional as well as a person each day! You have value and strength in words and in connections. 

Each interaction, twitter chat, or social media connection gives YOU the power to be a better person, a better educator, and a more connected person each day. Social media has opened doors that weren’t around 20 years ago. It is fluid, easy to access, and unique to each interaction. There’s something worth finding what works for you and owning the ability to find good in educators and people around you. Find your niche, whether its face to face, on twitter or another avenue, or a mixture of things and OWN your learning to be a better professional and a better person each and every day! 

PLN