Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Planning, Organizing and Prioritizing.

Now is about the time that I typically begin to think about putting things together for the next school year. Planning, organizing and prioritizing have all become part of my August routine for close to the last 15 years. This year, however, is a little different. In the past, July has been a time for me to sit back, reflect and recharge. This July instead was filled with conference attendance, training, and workshops (attended and delivered), coursework, and other professional responsibilities. I'm not complaining. It was hectic to be sure, but I learned a great deal. It hasn't been until now though, the second week or so into August that I have been able to actually sit, collect my thoughts, and reflect on what has transpired over the year, and look forward to what is to come.

So as I reflect on the past school year, here are some of the things that I am taking away...
  • You are not alone. Reach out. Be vulnerable. Ask for help. 
  • Try something that scares you a little bit. Be brave.
  • Look for the positives in each day, and thank the Lord for those blessings.
  • When facing the trials that are sure to come, bring them to the foot of the Cross.
  • Love. Love one another. Be in relationship with others. Be present.
Some of you may be surprised by that list. It doesn't include new instructional strategies, the latest app, or the silver bullet for raising student achievement. What it does include, are ways that we can make a difference as a teacher, as a colleague, and as a friend, and yes I believe that all of those things can have a positive impact on the work that we do as educators each day. Here's how...
  1. You are not alone. Teach your students that we all need one another. We are a learning community, and that we are better together. We learn from one another and inspire one another. When we ask for help, when we reach out, we give others an opportunity to lead, and to share their gifts.
  2. Try something that scares you a little bit. Taking a risk and trying something new is essential to our growth as individuals and as a learning community. Foster an environment in which it is safe to take risks, and encourage your learners to try new things.
  3. Take the time to reflect on, and appreciate the positives of each day. Encourage a thankful heart. Have your learners spend part of each day calling to mind all of the good things that happened throughout the day, and how they have grown.
  4. There will be difficult days. How we choose to handle ourselves in these difficult moments speaks volumes. Our students learn just as much from how we conduct ourselves and handle these moments, as they do from our formal lessons. 
  5. Love. It isn't always easy, but it is necessary. We need to love one another. Take the time to build relationships with your students, families, and colleagues. Practice understanding and compassion. I love the quote, "how bold one gets when one is sure of being loved." When we are certain we are loved, we are a little more willing to put ourselves out there. We are more willing to take risks, and to face difficulty. Imagine a learning community rooted in love, and how powerful that could be.
So, as I head into this August, a time of planning and preparation, organizing and prioritizing, I'm thinking about how we can continue to inspire, challenge, encourage and empower one another.  I'm thinking about how I might be more intentional in weaving these elements into each day, and I am looking forward to another year of amazing learning opportunities.


  1. This post really resonates! It's all about the relationships--they strengthen our ability to meet student needs directly in our work with children and also by allowing us to have honest, open, and sometimes difficult conversations on their behalf. Always enjoy your reflections!

  2. Good points. My exact sentiments. Teaching should not be left to chance. You are never over planned.

  3. I completely agree with this list! There's nothing more powerful than a positive, meaningful relationship to improve, enhance, and extend learning. There is also a huge need for a child to have a positive role model in his/her life. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you have a wonderful school year!