I have the unique opportunity to see the work of district and school officials, staff, and families pour their hearts out to our students every single day. The work that so many put in reaps for our students and our schools. From our custodians, cafeteria staff, front office, staff, teachers, & administration, every single person is making a difference in the world of a student’s journey. I pause and realize often that the work we put in together matters every single day. So many pour their hearts out for students to support their educational journeys. It continues to be ever flowing even through the pivots, challenges, and roadblocks in our way. Teaching has never been easy but it truly makes an impact on so many. Through the challenges, the tears, and stress, there is good in each journey and in each day.
Is it exhausting? At times, it can be. Is it rewarding? Absolutely! Is it worth it? For me, yes!
Today I am grateful to have a front row seat in the work of our students and the work that we do every day. The ups and downs of education continue to grow. However, the work that the educational community does to support students matters whole heartedly.
Educators across the world are feeling the pressures, struggles, and upsets day in and out. However, today, I had to take a step back and reflect upon what’s right in front of me and the purpose of education right now for me.
One step at a time, one day at a time, educators are making a difference in the journey of our students.
Around the world, educators and students are returning back to school this week and next. Whether it be online or in person, coming off a break can bring a bag of mixed feelings along with it. The time away may have been relaxing for many and a breath of fresh air to slow down and breathe. The time away to celebrate alongside loved ones as well as the time to decompress and be present was much needed and appreciated here. But it’s time to return to the routine and the school setting. As much as I enjoy the downtime, I love the structure of the routine day in and out during the week.
This week, however, you have a unique opportunity to be in many aspects. In the lives of students and educators coming off of the break, you have a chance to BE the champion and advocate for them day in & out. Many of our students bring so much JOY to our lives & I love those initial interactions to start off the day and week. For educators in the classroom, your students seek YOU to continue to build relationships and learn together along the way. For educators and leaders in and outside of the classroom setting, you have an opportunity to BE present, uplift, encourage, and inspire day in and out. Coming off of a break is hard and getting back into the routine can be a struggle. BE willing to support and uplift students, staff, and families as we all get back into the swing of things.
As hard as coming off a break can be, think about the students you influence, support, and encourage day in and out. You champion for them, encourage them, support them, and advocate for greatness and growth every day. You see them at their best and worst and never give up on them. You pour your heart into your students and their success. You, my friend, encourage greatness from them and have an opportunity to BE that influence as school gets back into session. Be the champion that influences students and never gives up. Be the champion who cares and inspires students to do their very best.
Finally, don’t forget yourself in this venture and opportunity to BE every day. Remember to be yourself and who you are as well as what you give. Be who you are through and through with and without others. Remember that you are human and that is acceptable. My friend Jillian Dubois, of ImpartedJoy, posted this on Monday and it really hit home for me. Be who you are every day. The attributes and who you are matter. You will never know how others perceive you for you.
The to-dos and deadlines can be overwhelming. Be willing to accept that the to-dos will always be there. My friend Kecia McDonald reminded me of the things to be yesterday instead of the to-dos and this hit home for me. Instead of focusing on what has to be done, focus on what you want to BE in the coming of days. This can be a balance of things. My goal is to have a to be list this week along side my to-do list that continues to grow. To focus on what I can control versus what continues to be placed on a to-do list.
You are amazing & have an opportunity to be in the fresh start this year. and out. Remember your why, your reason for the work you do, and grasp the opportunity to BE this week. Be willing to start off your day, every day, with the willingness and opportunity to BE and see where the journey takes you. Have a great week!
Growing up, I was taught that New Years meant the start of a new year on January 1st and the traditions of black eyed peas for good luck as well as cabbage were something we had each year. Whether or not believed in this tradition, we celebrated together with this. We also talked about resolutions and goals we would accomplish this year too. As I got older, resolutions however really did not fit my jam. I would do really well the first couple of months and then they would fall to the wayside unintentionally. As I look back, the reflections were not what made the year, however. The work put in as well as the events really made my years memorable.
I am a believer that there is something good in every day as well as opportunity too. Through past experiences, hardships, life, and years, it really speaks volumes that the days continue to come and go however there is progress along each path. Looking back at 2021, there were a lot of moments of ugh as well as celebrations that mattered to me. Do I dwell in what did not work well, no. But the moments that did not make for happy memories are still memories of the past and something to grow with moving forward.
Looking ahead to this year, I am excited for the opportunities ahead and well as the journey into the unknown of 2022. The hardships and struggles of the past make me a better person today as well as the celebrations and triumphs too. Every year, an opportunity arises to write your own journey as well as remember the good and struggles along the way. For me, I look forward to writing more to fill my blank pages into the journey I take this year as well as dwell in the good and celebrations too. Even through the struggles, there is an opportunity for better upon the horizon. We just have to see it unfold in front of us.
Wishing you a very happy New Year & start to 2022!
Looking back on this year, I can’t count the amount of people who taught me something as well as who continued to embrace myself through thick and thin. Professionally, teaching during a pandemic continued to push me through thick and thin. It was not easy and continues to be the case today. The year of the continued pandemic, hardships, teaching, and finishing my Masters in December (post coming in January) continued to teach me things that I am grateful for today such as balancing personal and professional life, giving myself grace, and leading with grace.
I have always struggled and avoided talking about personal struggles from my professional life not wanting to cause extra attention but this year taught me to be honest, open, and let people in to see the whole picture of who I am. The whole picture this year caused a lot of stress, frustration, and struggle. Personal struggles included our house flooding and no power for 5 days in February, packing up our entire downstairs and all our belongings and leaving for 9 months, and home to unpack and still be under construction today. I will admit that the boxes that still sit in our halls today remind me that there is progress from last month and at the beginning of this year. Please understand, though, that telling my struggles on a blog made me a better person I am today going through them and seeing the progress of the year (almost) behind me.
One of my biggest takeaways for the 2021 year has been the amount of support and connection felt and how much grace was needed for others and myself. Focusing on others comes very naturally to me. Focusing on myself is a challenge at times aside from self care. However, it’s a continued journey to improve on and embrace. Professionally, seeing the power of connections as well as support truly allowed me to see the good in others as well as the helpful spirit too. Making connections and learning from one another worldwide was amazing. Keeping those connections and learning to grow forward is something I will to continue do day in and out as well.
Moving forward to 2022, my #oneword2022 will be embrace. Embrace will center the work I do in my classroom and with my students as well as how I work to continue to embrace in collaboration and support with colleagues, staff, and teachers. Personally, embracing boundaries and limits for my own sanity and life is a continued work in progress too. In 2022, I look to embrace the struggle that is ahead as well as the journey to embrace the unknown. I also plan to embrace blogging more as an outlet as well as to share my thoughts. Livia Chan, Teacher & Digital content creator for TeachBetter, reminded me today in a live PD that “instead of worrying about what others say about content, just focus on yourself.” Moving into 2022, I hope to share more as well as focus on embracing what’s to come.
Embracing the unknown, the productive struggle, the connections, and the days ahead in the coming year of 2022. Happy New Year to you and wishing you a wonderful start to 2022.
I am going to be perfectly honest and truly thought my word for 2019 and 2020 was BE. I am not sure how I mixed them up since intentional was supposed to capture 2020 but I took BE one step further in 2020. I truly had the presence and ability to be fully be in tune to what others were saying as well as putting in writing.
I am not going to lie. 2020 was truly a blur from March to October. The ever changing mandates, the changes, the fear, and the whirlwind so many educators and people were on was exhausting and, at times, paralyzing. While the days continued to pass, it did get easier by the end of 2020 to BE intentional about listening to others who had a different perspective or notion. I learned so much about bias that occurs by our nation as well as teachers and how to respond appropriately all while the pandemic occurred.
One of my biggest takeaways in 2020 was the fact that there are people who want to support teachers and teachers who want to learn more no matter the circumstance. I learned how to connect through zoom and have tough conversations about the inequities in education and what we are doing about it. I learned so much and also took away the fact that we are truly better together by listening, reflecting, pausing, and asking questions. I truly hope this collaborative discussion and community continues moving forward and even after the pandemic.
Moving forward to this year, 2021, my #oneword2021 will be intentional & I can’t wait to see the journey unfold through each memory. I want to focus on the extent and depth of intentional & in the different areas of my life.
Intentional focus on the planning of my lessons for my students as well as focusing on what is truly important to me by investing time and energy into these areas. Intentional direction of how I support my students, staff, colleagues, and family each day. Intentional commitment to what is important in my life. Intentional reflection by blogging more. Not only do I want to reflect and take time to truly listen and learn but I also want to have intentional voice by allowing others to read longer than 240 characters on Twitter. Intentional vulnerability by opening up on a platform and inviting feedback to help me grow as well as intentional purpose in what I do each day and along this journey in 2021.
Do you have a yearly goal or #oneword2021? I’d love to know more.
2021, let’s do this and I hope to continue to be intentional with the days ahead and the moments in between.
Something I value when working with students is seeing their spark and ability to learn moving forward. Their acceptance of people makes me smile. Their tenacity, their will, their desire to know more, and their energy. They make me question what I do, how I teach them, and how I bring education to them. They make me who I am today.
Educators have the ability to kindle the light of education every day. We see the light bulb moments, the struggle, the breakthroughs, and the victories. We get a front row seat to see amazing things happen and the journey through every journey. Do we value that, though? Do we celebrate and promote the GOOD we see every day just because? Do we value the spark that we cultivate and grow every day? If we do, fabulous!
If not, why not?
On the opposite side of those triumphs and flames are dedicated teachers who cheer on students every day. They kindle the light, give their heart and soul, and matter. You are not unnoticed. You provide guidance and support along the way. You are a vital part of that flame that we call education in the path of greatness. You are not unnoticed and WE, the educational community, SEE you! If you haven’t heard it in a while, thank you for kindling the flame of education and valuing the sparks around you!
Add it all together
Every single one of us have that potential to value the spark within and around us. It’s a choice yet is there for us all to grasp moving forward. It’s raw, real, and overwhelming. However, why not take the challenge? YOU have the potential to notice what’s around you and value the spark leading the way in education.
Calm: a state of being or action that one can feel, see, or act upon.
Yesterday, I took a drive to Texas Tulips after an appointment & was taken back by the calm of the field of tulips. The colors, the smells, and the sights. It was a gloomy day and on the cooler side but the flowers were radiant and really made it worth the drive.
The fields of tulips struck a cord with me as I attempted to not slip in the mud. A simple field of flowers can brighten my day. It can make me stop and appreciate the good around us.
Savoring the calm is a choice. A choice I take every day. Life gets crazy, don’t get me wrong, and deadlines and stress can creep in. At first, it can be okay and then you’re overwhelmed quickly. It’s a vicious cycle.
However, savoring the calm is a necessity of life. It’s a way to step back and relish the good around us. The good that keeps you sane. The good you look forward to. The good that surrounds you day in and out. The good that is around us all if we just stop and savor the calm.
Savoring the calm and be more than tulips or flowers for others. However, it’s a necessity of life. If we don’t slow down and savor what’s around us, we will miss it. Something we can help our students and colleagues around us notice. It’s as simple as a conversation. There’s good all around us. Have you stopped to savor the calm lately?
In the past two weeks, I have been hit, kicked, bitten (too many times to count on just one hand), smacked, had items thrown at my head, charged at, and spit on. It’s been tough to say the least. Behaviors have always been an interest to me and these past two weeks have been very emotional for me.
My students have behavioral difficulties that have landed them with me. A self contained, Social Emotional Teacher who is doing the best I can every day. In any given day, I can have students be compliant and civil while others may flip their lids and struggle to regulate. While there have been weeks where I’ve had a rough day or two, the past two weeks almost did me in.
Emotionally, I was a wreck for a few days after the fact. Knowing that young students have severe behaviors and can hurt adults can be really difficult to swallow. After being emotional, I felt guilt of wondering “am I doing the right thing?” as well as “can I really do this?” Waves of emotions after secondary trauma are typical and this was no different.
I stood in a doorway, one afternoon last week, and was reminded that I have the “hardest job in the whole school” by a colleague who gave me a pep talk and hug. That day was dark and I was bruised visibly and emotionally. Her words went to my heart and got me through the afternoon and into Friday. Having had others tell me “I don’t know how you do it” or “I would’ve quit by now” gives me strength to keep going.
This period of time has changed me for the better. I am learning how to support students with severe behaviors, going through the emotions, and realizing that their actions are making a big impact on me to do more to support them. Life as a special educator is never dull, always adventurous, and leaves an emotional impact on my heart for years to come.
Collaboration: discussing ideas to further create something. Every day, educators create lessons and prepare materials for students. Having the opportunity to see new ideas and implement them in your classroom and area takes trust and, sometimes, a leap of faith. Sharing is caring in the education world.
This past weekend, I attended Edcamp Cyfair. Edcamp has upcoming events on their website. It’s a fabulous event that is not a sit and get event. It’s topics that are relevant to the attendees, what we really are wanting to share and learn more about, and a schedule is created based on participant interest. Edcamps, by far, have been my favorite professional development. Not only do you learn about topics of interest, you get peer-to-peer support by talking out issues or difficulties and can take new ideas to your classroom the next week.
Something that really speaks to me as an educator and as an Edcamp participant is the fact that we learn together. We give suggestions, we offer new ideas, and we support one another with suggestions. Something that really hits home for me is the ability to relate to other educators and to, ultimately, support students in the process. Our students BENEFIT from Edcamps due to the ideas flowing and suggestions brought forward.
Most Edcamps offer notes online to share and refer back to often. Edcamp Cyfair was no different and I love being able to refer back to the notes as there is so much goodness shared in a short amount of time. Here are the notes from Edcamp Cyfair and the ideas shared. Something I’ve noticed in education since graduating as an educator is the power of collaboration and the GOOD it does for educators. Not only do you gain valuable insight, you find new ways to serve your students.
Just this weekend, I found out new ideas to support my students in writing such as using comics from make belief comics and a brain dump (with templates) to support students’ ideas and allow them to be hooked in writing. I also learned about a confetti high five tool that shoots confetti when someone high fives you. I ordered it on amazon Saturday and it came in today. I plan to use this on Friday and can’t wait!
Edcamps, professional development, and PLCs aren’t just about learning about new ideas. It’s about cultivating collaboration as a person & educator and to use later. Think of it as a file of goodness. Cultivate the information, share with others, and collaborate to make your students’ hanging on the edge of their seats waiting for more.
Recently Aaron Hogan, writer and moderator of #Teachermyth, challenged participants to write about something you recognize you are learning this week. It could have been simple or profound. I recognized how an apology and owning up to my mistakes made my students see how human I really am!
Last Thursday, I discovered that I had made a mistake with my students after school while reviewing their daily point sheets. It was something that could be fixed and apologized for. However, I realized I needed to tell them “I’m sorry” and admitted to my six to eleven year olds that I was human. Their responses amazed me and I noticed that their words really impacted me.
I’m sorry…two words that can turn a conversation in a different direction. Admitting any mistake can be tough. However, when you apologize to students, they realize your heart is in the right place. They connect with you in a way you didn’t realize they could and they see the raw, real you of wanting them to know you care.
Every day, educators have students in front of them and hope to make a difference in their lives. Their words, your words, your heart, their hearts, and emotions are all at play. We all make mistakes. We’re human. However, having the heart to apologize to your students really makes an impact. Something I noticed when I apologize to my students is the connective piece. I get the “it’s okay” or “you made a mistake?” However, I want my students to see the side of me that’s not always right. The side that I make mistakes just like them. Owning up to my mistake wasn’t just powerful, it was REAL. They accepted my words, my apology, and my plan to move forward with them.
If we want our students to stand by their actions, apologize for mistakes, and live up to the challenge of life, we must do the same. We are human. We make mistakes & we must own up to them just like we expect our students to own up.
Think about a time you made an error or mistake with your students. Did you apologize? If not, I challenge you to the next time. Perhaps you can see the REALness of YOU being human in front of them. If we can’t own up to our mistakes, why should our students?