I Froze and It’s Okay!

The following thoughts are the start of a blog I began in September! That should show just how disconnected from the world of blogging I have been. 

Week 3 #IMMOOC thoughts….

Listening to the passion from Kaleb R. was awesome! Something he said really stuck with me.  When asked his advice on how to take all this passion and energy a leader brings to a place and have it continue after the leader leaves his response was around the book Multipliers.

Look inward towards your passion, and find the ability to tell a story around it.

It should tell:

WHO you are.
WHY you are in your space.
WHY you do what you do.
WHY you LOVE it!

This is powerful!! Imagine if we all were to ask ourselves these questions.  Would we be able to answer them?  It made me think that I want my child to be in a classroom where the teacher knows who they are, why they are in that space and why they love doing what they do.

You know what? I have thought about this blog every. single. day.  For the first time in a long time, I hstruggled to write down what was on my mind.  

By the time I sat down to do it I was so exhausted.  I couldn’t gather the energy or even remember what I was reflecting about.  IF I had energy and remembered, it was one of those things where I felt so behind was there even a point to try to catch up.  Nope.  

I truly just froze and couldn’t muster up the energy to begin again after feeling so far behind.  I admit it was not the best approach, but being honest with myself about not being able to do it all helped overcome this.

Well…those days are past.  I must remind myself that no matter how short the entry, blogging is for me and my processing.  It is my story after all. 🙂

The thoughts of this blog have not changed one bit since beginning it months ago.  Participating in The Innovator’s Mindset MOOC was such a great experience.  I needed to share these thoughts, even if they are incomplete and just something to think about. I need to write. What better way to start again than writing about being fearlessly authentic!

Developing Leaders

As I watched my daughter’s last soccer games, here is what was running through my head:

“It will never be this like this again.  We will never be with such an amazing team like this again.”
You see, this team of girls has been together for years and next season Age Pure goes into place and will split them up.  My daughter is 1-2 years younger than the majority of them, so she knows what this means.  This puts her in an odd position, and given different scenarios she could remain on the team, but at the cost of being the super smallest, youngest, and not much playing time.

The bottom picture shows the love and respect they have as a team. Love this!

After having this realization and pity party because I am heartbroken at the thought of leaving this group of kids and parents who have become like family, my growth minded side steps in and says, “You are right.  It will not be the same with any other team.  It wasn’t meant to be the same as this team. This is an opportunity for her to be the leader and develop others like she has received with this team.”

Now the hard part comes – convincing our nine-year-old that if she takes a risk and stays down when everyone moves up, she can be the leader and lead others.  Believe me, if there is anyone who has “leadership skills” it is this girl!!

It’s scary, though.  It’s scary not being with people who you are comfortable with.  It’s scary not doing the thing you have done and filling the role you have filled, the one you fit so perfectly into.  It’s like having your soothing mechanism taken away.  Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, but if we can see the value in developing others and being willing to be developed, we will all learn and grow so much. Easier said than done, right?

I have written about Coach Doug many times and how much we adore him and all he has done to teach these children life lessons.  He has a gift of coaching and teaching.  He has instilled in these girls the LOVE of the game in a world where competitive at a young age is the way people are pushed.  I have never seen a team play as one, truly and utterly sacrificing goals themselves so that they can see every person on the team make one. That is this team, and you know it is because of how they were taught.  There is a special place for Coach Doug in our hearts forever.

Just like Coach Doug did for his team, we as educators need to do the same for our teams.  We need to seek out those students with leadership skills. Show them how to use these to do amazing things. We need to seek out those teachers with leadership skills and build this capacity in our schools.
I will leave you with this final thought.  What are we waiting for?

Learning to the Point of Exhaustion

As I sit here tonight trying to put together a way to share what I learned at TCEA this past week, I cannot.  I feel pure exhaustion.  Let me add this is the kind of exhaustion, like I know every woman can relate to, that brings you to tears! 🙂

To be quite honest, I have so many things swirling in my head and not the first clue as to how to organize all of this into something coherent, but I will figure it out soon.  I have to.  It is causing me to feel a little anxious because I want to do so many things!

**I want to share all these awesome resources.
**I am charged up and want to empower my students and fellow teachers.
**I want every educator I know that didn’t get to attend TCEA to learn about all the amazing resources that I did and use them in their classrooms!
**I have more determination to make an even bigger difference than I did the day I arrived at TCEA. (If that is even possible!)

I know, I know…I hear my veteran TCEA going friends and people in the education world that have been doing this for years thinking, “Amateur.  We have all done this and felt like this…years ago. It will not be as overwhelming each year.”

This is where I have to disagree. Whether this is your first TCEA experience or your fifth TCEA experience, you have to agree with me that attending a large conference of passionate, forward-thinking, like-minded educators leaves you feeling completely changed as an educator.  Talking with many of these veterans, they say this is why they come back every year. And isn’t that something we all crave? We need a place to recharge and find inspiration in others.  This is why building a PLN is so important. (This is a completely different blog coming soon!)  I cannot tell you enough what spending a week with positive, inspiring educators that challenge my thinking and push me has done for my professional and personal growth!!  

So…I will sign off tonight with this apology.  I apologize for not being able to write this amazing blog about many of the tools I learned.  I apologize for not giving any cool apps to use.  I apologize for not giving links to the sites that help make your Google use so efficient. Don’t worry, I will share things out little by little as I go back through them!

What I will not apologize for is continuing to talk about the importance of relationships and being a connected educator!!  I will leave you with this: You MUST use Twitter for Professional Learning and attend a conference like this!!  I know I will not miss one from here on out. It is where I find and connect with my people.  It is where I am inspired. It is where I am challenged.  It is where I question deeply and wonder just how much I can push myself.  And to think….it all started with Twitter. 🙂

Leadership – It Takes A Village

When you hear the word LEADERSHIP, what comes to mind?

          Superintendent? Principal? Curriculum Directors?

Lately, I have been participating in many Twitter chats where leadership has been the topic. My normal ones are #txeduchat, #IAedchat, #PISDbkclub, and #edslowchat.  I’m not a principal, but the topic of leadership is of high interest to me and here is why. For awhile now I have felt that leadership does not just come from the principal alone.  It can come from coaches, teachers, paras, custodians, parents, and most importantly, from the students!  You’ve heard it said, it takes a village to do this thing called life.  The same goes for education.

Many thoughts have been swirling around my head on this topic because even though we already know this, when we are truly honest about it, how many of us shy away from stepping up? There are so many reasons to fear shared leadership, especially if you are an introvert. Believe it or not, I lean more to that side. 🙂

  • It’s scary to be pushed out of your comfort zone.  
  • It’s scary to not know the “why” behind the changes happening.
  • It’s scary to admit you might not know an answer. (And to be okay with that.)
  • It’s scary to put yourself out there and think you are being judged or evaluated.
  • It’s scary speaking in front of peers. Need I say more?!
It’s scary, but we know that when we all contribute…. real transformation happens!!

This year my role changed from years as a classroom teacher to a literacy intervention specialist.  After the first week without a classroom of kids I could hug and laugh with, I thought, “What on earth did I just do?!” (Whew! I said it. The first step is admitting it, right!?)

Fortunately for me, that quickly changed!   I consider myself the luckiest Literacy Intervention Specialist because my principal understands and encourages my passion for learning and sharing new ideas, teaching and being around kids, and taking risks to try innovative things.  I have the luxury of not only providing intervention services for students, but I get to go into the classrooms to support teachers in great literacy instruction by co-teaching/modeling lessons!  This is truly the BEST of both worlds!

How did I get so lucky you ask?

My principal recognizes the value of shared leadership.  He seeks out strengths in all teachers and gives the gentle push to have them lead some area of our campus in some way. We have amazing teachers.  Too many times classroom teachers never have a chance to get “out” to see the awesomeness of each other.

But wait, this also happens with students! Classroom teachers know the strengths of their students more than anyone else!  It is our duty to guide our students to recognize their own strengths and the strengths in each other.  It is our duty to teach them how to use these to benefit everyone. Along those same lines, teaching our students to know their weaknesses and when to ask for help is just as important. There is nothing I love more than seeing kids step up as leaders!

My reflections on shared leadership:

  • Trust, Trust, and Trust each other.  Know that we are all teaching every child in our building. 
  • When everyone in the building steps up and leads, everyone in the building grows.
  • When teachers feel they are part of the HOW and WHY decisions of their classroom they are willing to do anything!
  • When students feel they have a voice and are part of the decisions in their education trust and ownership happen.
  • When parents feel they have a voice in their child’s education, trust in the school increases.  They are happy because their kids are happy. This empowers them to speak about the good things happening in schools.
Do you see the spiral of transformation that can happen if we practice shared leadership? 
This quote sums up WHY we need to involve EVERYONE in the process.  Imagine the great things that can happen!