For 30 days, show one person gratitude a day. Every day that you do this, you will begin to see great positivity in your life and work.
Here are groups of people that you can appreciate:
1. Colleagues - Who do you work with that deserves your thanks? If you are unhappy with the people you work with, strive to find something you can appreciate. Or, strive to model the behaviors that you would appreciate. The more you appreciate others, the more you will be appreciated.
2. Family members - Sometimes we take for granted the people that are closest to us in our lives. I know I am guilty of this. Show your appreciation for your family and tell them one characteristic that brings joy into your life.
3. Strangers - When you are at a store and someone helps you out, show gratitude. We all know what it is like to experience poor service! If someone opens a door for you, say a sincere thank you. Believe it or not, when you look, there is a lot to appreciate!
4. Friends - When was the last time you thanked the friend who is the first person you call on a bad day? Or, the friend that makes you laugh often? You won’t have to go far before you find a friend that deserves your thanks.
5. Students - Needs no explanation.
How can you show your gratitude?
1. I love to write notes and cards for people. I collect them when I see them on sale and carry them with me. See my post on positive notes. :)
2. Text messages. A nice text that shows your thanks can uplift people in a spare moment of their day.
3. A photo email. If you come across an image online that reminds you of the individual, send it along with a thank you.
Let me know all of the good things you begin to experience as you focus on the positive. 30 days. Every day.
Will be blogging from New Orleans today. On a Learning Tour of some leading edge schools and programs.
I saw this great image today from www.workisnotajob.com. They put together some great stuff. Today’s image was just perfect for teaching… “Take Courage” against a chalkboard.
Why does teaching take so much courage?
I’ll share my thoughts and hope to hear yours.
1. Teaching takes courage because kids can break your heart. I cannot tell you how many times I cried over my kids. I cried when they cried because they were going through something tragic. I cried on my way home after I learned that they had made an insanely poor choice. I cried after expulsions in my classroom. And, each time, I had to pick myself up, move forward and refuse to give up. The connection between a teacher who truly cares, truly gives, and a student can be a bond that has lasting power. When the days come, and they will, that you are disappointed, hurt, upset and confused, those are the days you need courage to move on.
2. Teaching takes courage because you can be vulnerable to criticism and ridicule. You may read this and wonder what I mean. Well, I mean that kids can be cruel (without always knowing how words can impact). The worst part about it is that all former teachers were once former students that most likely said something mean about one of their teachers. I know I did. I’m not at all proud of it. I can still remember a day my first year teaching that I arrived at school looking less than my best self. I had been up until all hours of the night grading and prepping (most likely on the formatting or look of something). Walking into school, I can still hear C (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) say, “Wow, Ms. Garcia, BAAAAAAD hair day! And are you sick? You look sick. Why did you come if you were sick?” Jaw. Dropped. I can’t even remember how I responded. Or if I did. Note: this is the mildest of the stories I have. Everyday, you have to get up in front of a bunch of kids, no matter what age, and put yourself out there. Some people can say that they don’t care if a random tween says something rude or mean. Good for them; maybe they became immune after awhile.
3. Finally, teaching takes courage because it is hard work with a lot on the line. If you can’t take pressure, do not become a teacher. There is SO much pressure and to be able to handle it takes more courage than most professions. I’m not solely referring to achievement tests, while that is a huge component of accountability. I’m talking about a YEAR’S worth of learning that YOU are responsible for in a GROUP of CHILDREN. Those kids belong to someone. They are PEOPLE, with dreams and possibility. A teacher can either create possibility, or give their kids just another barrier to overcome. A reading teacher, for example, is responsible for growing kids as readers. How well a student reads can determine how well they do in other subjects that require, that’s right, READING. This may sound very simplistic, but I’ve been in this game for a decade now and the damage that one lost year of instruction in a core content area can have creates significant repercussions for kids. When you layer low income students who are already behind on top of that, the consequences are even more dire. With so much on the line, who better than the very courageous to accept the charge.
What takes courage in your work?
(Just getting out of bed is not an acceptable answer). :)
Great teaching is about great mindsets. If you believe it, you will achieve it. Yes, that last line is cheesy AND it is true. So much about what we do in our life is a direct manifestation of WHAT we think and HOW we think.
Teaching Mindset 1 - It’s not about you, it’s about them. Them being the students.
As you sit down to plan, answer these questions of yourself to ensure this lesson is about your kids and not about you.
1. Who will be MOST engaged in this lesson? (If you are going to talk more, think more, explain more, engage more - the answer is you.)
2. Who will OWN the learning & DO the work? (If the students will have a chance to process, produce, and perform, THEY are doing the work. SCORE.)
3. Am I risking control in this lesson? (Hard one. As the instructional leader, you should always maintain control. I’m talking about controlling the space and the voice. Are the kids getting in the driver’s seat in this lesson?)
During the lesson, pay close attention to the following:
1. Talking for long, extended periods of time. Determine how many minutes you will talk before you feel like it’s time to let the students have a little bit of airtime. For me, it was 5 minutes. If I went OVER 5 minutes, I knew it was time to get the voices going.
2. Passive learning. Are the kids passive learners in the classroom or are they active? Active means they are doing something (copying does not count). What counts? Thinking, talking, acting, reading, writing, moving, grooving.
After the lesson, ask yourself the questions above, but in past tense. Reflect and react for the next class.
And, in case you ever really want some good data, ask the kids. Who talks more in this class about what we are learning, me or you? Watch their reactions closely. You might be surprised.
It’s not about me, it’s about you. What do you want to see on the blog?