Starting the School Year Right

It has certainly been a VERY long while since I wrote anything on my blog post.  And like many others, I hope to increase my nline reflection and sharing this year now that I have a new role with new opportunities for growth, change and challenge (not that I did not have this opportunity in the past, of course…).

As my first post in a while, I thought I would share this infographic by @jenniferlagarde, called 27 Ways To Make This the Best Year Ever.  It’s a great infographic that uses Thinglink, so it is an interactive infographic 🙂


In the spirit of the “first Days Back”, I thought that I would share my personal reflections on her 27 suggestions… some might not be as thrilling as others but its worth the ol’ college try, right? 😉

Here it goes…

27 Ways to Make This the Best Year Ever

(1) Passion – with me being a new role, there is lots to be excited and passionate about!  I am passionate about making this new experience a growing and learning opportunity, and I am passionate about working with a great team of people to make it happen.

(2) Reach – I plan on continuing to use the ever-growing network of professionals and educators that I have connected with personally and through social media to help to support my learning and to share and collaborate. 

(3) Ditch the desk! – Done (sorta).  Had no choice this year… I am reduce dot s sort of “corner of the room”, with a tall chair so we will see how that goes!

(4) Share your story – this is about the power of branding; making it yours.  The program that I run very much requires a personal and yet professional touch.  I am going to try my best to develop a program and climate that suits, and is the best fit for, the needs of my students and that reflects my own personal and professional approaches to teaching and learning.

(5) Get to know your students – well, of course!  I plan to spend the first week (maybe even first two) sharing, telling personal stories, playing, chatting and getting to know them.  Also, I plan on sharing my experiences and background with them as well.

(6) Play – part of our school FISH! philosophy.  Check and check.

(7) Don’t be afraid to be silly – I think that working in a middle school, this is inherent to survival.  If you can’t laugh at yourself and make yourself vulnerable, its difficult to expect the same from the students.  it helps with #5 and #6…

(8) Reflect – harder than it sounds but another lofty goal of mine.  So much is going to happen this year, I think it would be foolish of me to not record and reflect on my learning and growth, and the learning and growth of my students.

(9) Organize – I honestly believe I am 89% “super-organizer” and 11% “its an organized mess”… I prefer to be in the majority most of the time, however.

(10) Make time for making – I think this speaks to allowing time for me AND my students to learn and explore.  Setting aside time in the day or the week to allow students to create something is an awesome approach to developing those “21st century skills” along with following true to the Inspiring Education direction as well.

(11) Share – I think I tell my oldest daughter this every 2 minutes, and my youngest daughter every 2 seconds.  In my previous role, I experience a wealth of sharing and collaboration that I have never seen before.  Sharing made the “machine” work, and I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity. Now it’s my turn to share what I have learned with those in similar roles and with the staff that I work with each and every day.  Oh, and through social media too.. that stuff is cool.

(12) Allow yourself to be blown away – I think this comes first from being connected and open to the staff in my school as well as to the students.  Locally, we have some incredibly talented and incredible educators that do amazing things with kids each and every day.  Connecting with these fine folk and growing personally would be a great part of this year for me.

(13) Take time to listen to your students – Put down the cell phone.  Step away from the keyboard.  Place the pencil down.  Simply listen.

(14) Empower students through choice – in my new role, working with the students with higher educational needs, choices may not be the best solution for all.  For some, maybe, but right now choice is hard for them and more structure and direction might put them on a better path.  This speaks to #5, #8 and #12 as well.

(15) Be brave – (gulp!) A tough one.  I am currently reading a book called Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown.  It is actually all about vulnerability, and how to learn to be vulnerable in a strong way.  I am very excited to continue reading… lets see how it goes 🙂

(16) Be awesome / Be the teacher you would choose for your child – That is a tough one but a goo one!  Each teacher does this in his/her own way.  For me, its about keeping as current as I can, putting the needs of the students first and having fun.  Everything else will find its place (I’m thinking big now, as its the start of the year… ask me again in December – haha!)

(17) Strut your stuff – I don’t think that teachers are particularity good at this.  We like to do our best for our students, but when it comes to being vulnerable and open to others, we are very quick to shy away or hide.  In my new role, I hope to have the opportunity to work with the great staff I have a little more closely and to be able to encourage them to share more and be proud of what they have been able to accomplish.  

(18) Ask hard questions and help find answers – Some of us are certainly better at this than others!  I really have no idea where I fit on the spectrum of asking the “hard questions”.

(19) Ask for and offer help when needed – Abso-FREAKING-lutely I will!!  I have no shame in saying “boy, I really have no idea what to do here.  (Insert expert name here), would you show / tell / explain this to me please?”  I think I will get a t-shirt made 😉

(20) Teach students not subjects  – I am proud to say that I think this is an area of strength for me.  I can certainly grow more to learn how to better do this with my students, but I believe that I am on the right track!

(21) Choose kind always – Perfect point as a teacher and parent role model.  Choose kind ALWAYS.

(22) Mentor / Be someones superhero – Well, superhero I am no, but I am always certainly willing and open to mentoring any new staff, or even to mentor a students with a particularly hard topic or part of their school / life.  building these relationships can help to strengthen all those involved.  Everyone has something to contribute and to learn from.

(23) Grow – Something tells me that this will not be a difficult task to do this year…

(24) Say thank you and mean it  – and don’t forget to say “you are welcome” as well!  “Yup” or “no worries” is not the same thing.  Period.

(25) Be infections / Spread your genius / Lead – As the lead teacher in the learning support role, this is a new expectation for me.  I also lead a team of 12 educational assistants in my school, so it is kind of like I have my own mini-staff!  Yikes – lots of pressure but in a good way.  I am constantly looking for new opportunities to lead.

(26) Be the change you want to see – How will I be the change that I want to see??  Hmmmm…..

And finally, (27) When all else fails, just dance  – Good idea.  🙂