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

Gratitude & Appreciation

Appreciation

Gratitude, something that is not always voiced or given. However, shown or intended to be bestowed upon each day. The day to day impact and wisdom shared is coveted and appreciated by so many. The random acts of kindness and little encouraging notes mean so much too.

Gratitude and appreciation look so different based on the culture of the schools and who the team players are. However, there are still similarities in all settings. There is hard work appreciated, kindness throughout, difficult decisions made. and impact made each day. There are students making our day, laughter to deal with difficult days, and decisions coming down that impact the students and staff each and every day.

Something I realized as an early teacher (and before) was you must give gratitude and appreciation specifically to others. It can be a simple note or email or text (nowadays) but, as educators, we must acknowledge what we see, note who has gone above and beyond, and recognize each other. It’s not about the number of notes; it’s about the recognition and value of others. Every person deserves to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. It must be specific, real, and to the point.

So many times, however, we all get busy and the recognition and appreciation gets put on the back burner. It’s not intentional, it’s life! However, as people who know what it’s like to be appreciated, I am asking for the intentional recognition to be a priority when something good occurs. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be specific to the person. The specific gratitude will, in turn, bring out appreciation each time.

Intentional recognition not only builds the culture around us. It gives meaning and purpose to those around us too. It is intentional, specific, and purposeful to show gratitude. In a field of juggling so much and making decisions that impact and change paths often, gratitude and appreciation must be an intentional priority to celebrate the good, appreciate those around us, and to move forward as a cohesive unit. A unit who knows others realize the good they bring to the table and the impact they see too.

Gratitude & Appreciation: an intentional priority for cultivating the culture around us! See it, acknowledge it, recognize it, and celebrate the good it brings each day. 

Stronger than you realize

You are stronger than you know

Someone once told me “you’re stronger than you know” and the words remind me every so often that I really am stronger than I realize. Whether it is when a tough call is made or a situation that just isn’t how you saw it coming, YOU are stronger than you realize!

Every day, we face decisions and circumstances that make us stronger. Whether it’s a tough call or a tough situation, YOUR input vastly makes or breaks a situation. Your strength is shown in how you handle situations, how you recover from tough calls, and how you move forward for the better.

Kelly Clarkson has a song, “Stronger,” and some of the lyrics hit home.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone”

YOU are strong and YOU are stronger than you realize!

Winston Churchill said, “never, never, never give up!” As we move forward with a task or circumstance, know YOU have so much potential. You are stronger than you realize and can take on your situation head on.

No matter the circumstance, you make it happen! How you face situations, circumstances, and events all show how strong you really are. Stand tall, stand firm, and realize that you are so much STRONGER than YOU realize!

Oxygen first

Oxygen, a necessity of life. Something we need on a daily basis. Oxygen can be something we’re willing to receive and give out without hesitation. It can surround us and, at times, we can ignore the deprivation as we press on to meet a need or to complete a task.
Decisions, stress, outbursts, behavior, needs to be met, and the list goes on. Every day as educators, we are pulled in many directions. From before the sun to many hours after us, many seek our attention and need our input. It’s a continuous cycle that repeats day after day and week after week too.
The nature of the beast is that we, as educators, are in a profession that pulls us so many ways. It happens in a blink of an eye and can be rewarding and exhausting simultaneously. The need to meet our own needs and recognize the fact that we need oxygen to continue gets left behind or overlooked in a sense.
I, for one, am guilty of ignoring the exhaustion and don’t always remember to breathe first. It’s a vicious cycle and have a great support system to remind me but it happens.
We’re human and this is just a friendly reminder to be sure to breathe and take the oxygen first before you put your best foot forward each and every day.
Oxygen first...

Realize & Recognize the amazing

Everyday, we as educators, have goals, items to attend to, and tasks to meet. We strive for our best in a society that doesn’t always appreciate what we do. We deal with questions, emails, and roadblocks in our path.

Unless you’re in school, an organization, or have been in school, society doesn’t always realize what we face day in and out. The meltdowns of many students, discipline, lesson planning, long term planning, curriculum, parent complaints, conferences, and the list continues. Society also doesn’t see the light bulb moments, the AHA moments, the connections, and the smiles and love our students give and receive.

 

resizedYou are amazing

As educators, we have got to stop & realize and recognize we are amazing! Society may not say it or recognize it but we, as an amazing community of educators, need to say it and recognize it daily. When we see amazing in our schools and communities, we need to recognize and acknowledge it. We need to note it. We need to say it! We need to cultivate and grow an amazing culture of educators. We must recognize the good that comes our way!

YOU can move mountains & be an amazing educator day in and out! Own it!

Unforeseen struggles: own them!

Everyday, we as educators, walk into work with a plan in mind. Whether it be to take on the world (one can hope) or accomplish something important to meet the needs of your students and staff, you have a plan. A hope, a dream, an aspiration, or an idea that you yearn to accomplish. A plan that will assist you in meeting the needs of someone on your path for the day. However, it’s not always workable or easy.

Challenges, problems, and differences can stop your plan dead in its track. It’s like a ton of bricks that overpowers the difficulties ahead. The feeling of despair and frustration loom. The thought of “what have I gotten myself into?” The uneasy feeling that you never planned or dreamed you’d have. However, you’ve got a choice on how to proceed. A choice no one can predict or warn you about. You can either own the challenges or problems and make the best of it or give up.

Giving up, for me, is not an option. It’s a challenge. An unforeseen path that wasn’t on the original game plan. Alas, it’s a struggle to accomplish a surprise that is challenging. It can be a discussion that goes aray, a difficult conversation, or an event that derails your plans. Something that you don’t forsee or plan for. There’s no immediate plan, no agenda.

It’s raw, it’s real, and it’s a struggle. You play out how this struggle will go and try to wrap your head around it. However, we all face challenges in our paths each day. It’s unpredictable and real. There’s no agenda or warning but I challenge you to forge through, don’t give up, and to own your struggles professionally.

Face challengesresize

The challenge may be a roller coaster or a slap in your face but rise up & face your struggles. You can’t predict where the road will lead but you can predict if you will take you on an uncharted path towards tough waters. You’re not along on this journey. Face your challenges head on and own them. Just like the captain on your ship, YOU have the power to steer your course after a surprise attack. YOU have the power to steer head on or around the challenge. YOU have the power to face your struggle head on.

You are STRONGER than you think and can do more than you plan! Be your BEST advocate and rock the unforeseen journey. You never know where it will lead you!

The goodness of support

Life is likea cup of tea.

Support. Something we, as educators, sometimes forget to breathe in as we surround ourselves with problems in life and at school. The daily ins and outs of our job can not only take a toll on us but can also drain our cup we are able to drink from to support others daily. As an educator, I want to support my students to the best of my ability. This can include deescalating a meltdown, reading to my students, facilitating learning, and making connections each and every day. There are so many jobs as an educator that it’s easy to forget to fill your cup.

You cup is full of ideas, tools, strategies but it also has to be full of support, encouragement, and goodness to be the best you can be. Your best is vital for students and staff success! YOU have to take care of your emotional fill to support all. One way I do this is to lean on my PLN and participate in twitter chats. I grow and refill my cup of goodness to be the best I can be.

Everyone’s cup is filled differently but it still has the goodness of support and encourage. Support and encouragement for you as an educator is VITAL to be your best. You can’t draw from an empty cup and MUST have a supportive presence to make YOU the best for others to rely on.

I encourage each educator to fill their cup with a supportive PLN, encouragement, and the goodness to make a difference in every life you have in front of you. YOU are vital to education! YOU have to remember to fill your cup of goodness to do good with others.