Love the people. Try hard. Care big. Learn what you can. Sleep soundly.
I wonder if this is what we are missing in some of our "data" meetings in schools. Do we have pictures of kids at the table? To start, they are our WHY. They are why we want to be better. That's a big part of our identity as educators. But also, setting goals for improvements is nice, but it's not the work. The work is the small moves made over time that can make a big difference. Too many data meetings sound like, "We need to get these scores up." Well, yeah. We know. But how? And because we don't know what the best strategy or step to take is, we may not take a step.
My challenge to all of us is this: let's remember how much we matter in the lives of our students and their families. Let's show them how much we care with something small. Something that gets us excited to come back to work. Something that gets kids excited about class.
Are you taking your laptop home after work only to realize that you can't bring yourself to take it back out at night? Even though you're daunted by that to-do list? Do you find yourself quietly or not so quietly judging others more frequently, blaming, and complaining about matters that didn't used to get to you as much? Are you perpetually tired? Is it difficult to get up in the morning?
How might we shift our school environments to become places where student talk occurs at a higher volume than educator talk? Where we as adults become more focused on learning facilitation and cultivating environments?
I have never regretted visiting a teacher's classroom. Ever. Want to be filled with hope for the future? Spend time around teachers and students.
But you know what feels awesome? Finally deciding not to be awesome at everything. Because what happens is this: those things that we care about deeply, our strengths, the things that light us up on the inside, those things get better. Those things get stronger. We get stronger.
The more our brain experiences something the more it wants what it knows. So, if we fill our brains and our air time with complaints, our brain will want to keep doing it. If we fill our brains with the good stuff, our brains will continue to want to see the good. It doesn't mean we ignore what's hard. It doesn't mean we can't talk about what's hard. It means that for our sake and the sake of others, we don't live there for too long. That's all.
What might it look like to become deeply curious about the sense of agency that educators and students have in our schools?
And feeling better right now is golden. We need to find ways to feel better. Because when I give myself a pause, and when I'm feeling better, then I can get deeply curious. About the world around me, about why things are or are not happening - and getting curious and asking good questions is a big part of discovering how we can make things better.