There is a lot about the world that is really hard right now. Small words can restore hope. Small words and small gestures are big. They are especially big for our students.
I'm writing this as a reminder to all of us. What would happen if instead of jumping to criticism, we instead paused to ask ourselves: how we are modeling what we expect? What would happen if we were ridiculously in charge of our own learning, personal behavior, and growth?
Rather, if we take the time we need, we will be better rested and more emotionally available for others. This looks different for everyone. There is no one right way to recharge. But knowing ourselves and giving ourselves what we need is the first step to taking care of others as well.
What would happen if every time we slipped down the metaphorical staircase in one area or another, instead of rushing to shame and judgement and self-defeating thoughts, we instead allowed others to pick us up. What would happen if we dusted ourselves off and then allowed our experiences to teach us how to be better next time?
Let's do what we can to change our systems. And while we do that important work, "How might we nourish the hearts and minds of our educators?"
Yes, let's take care of our daily business. Let's make sure our leaves are healthy. But in doing so, let's not cut off the blooms. The bloomers who shine bright and make school and this profession look fun and worthwhile.
What would happen if we decided to dream a bit smaller? What if our dream was to get really curious about what was happening in our schools? What if our dream was to suspend judgement and to merely notice and wonder about the student experience? To truly talk to kids to find out what school is like for each of them? What if that curiosity and listening drove our next moves?
Perhaps we aren't utilizing our teams to their fullest capacity. Perhaps we are hyper-focused on perfecting things that are not urgent or important. Perhaps, we are assigning work to students in a way that is making our grading feel impossible. I heard a high school student say, "You know, she complains about all of the papers she has to grade and about how long it's taking her to get through all of them, and I keep thinking, 'Aren't you the one assigning these papers and setting the due dates this way?"'
Think about how far you've come. Just think about it for a second. Think about all of the hard days that you've made it through. And just look at you. Wow, you made it. You are strong and inspiring and you've grown. I'm so deeply proud of you. I'm proud of us.