Monday, December 31, 2018

My #OneWord2019 Diligence

1.  constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.
2.  the degree of care and caution required by the circumstances of a person.
3.  care; caution.

This will be my third year to choose #OneWord to guide or direct my year.  REACH was my #OneWord2017 and it exemplified a year of reaching beyond my comfort zone to where real learning occurs.

This past year I chose RELATIONSHIPS which was perfect for 2018 considering I developed some pretty impactful relationships through the #4OCFpln .  Through these relationships in this group I have read many books and my Wishlist on Amazon has grown immeasurably.  The number of blog posts I have written and shared has more than doubled.  I have participated in and moderated more Twitter chats.  Sharing my learning through professional development training has become my norm even to the extent of sharing outside my district.

In and amongst #allthethings that I have done this past year, I have realized that I have focused on quantity and not quality.  So this year I have chosen Diligence as my #OneWord2019.  Constant and earnest effort should be applied to almost everything that I do.

     Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.  Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Persistent exertion of body or mind are embodied in the words  "with all your might".  I know to be truly diligent in whatever I do, I will need to prioritize and even say no to some things.

     Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.  
     Proverbs 4:23

Saying no to some things will cause FOMO (fear of missing out), but in the end I will have more time to give to the tasks to which I have said yes. I will have the satisfaction of being more effective with my time.

     Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 
     making the most of your time,   Ephesians 5:15-16a

Using my time wisely will enable me to (hopefully) better balance home, health, school, and church.  A good balance will help me work on my relationships with others.

     Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need 
     to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15

Diligence will help me stand unashamed not only before God, but my family, friends, coworkers, students, and myself.  The care and caution I will give to each task should impact many in my circle of influence.

     Few things are impossible to diligence and skill.  Great works are performed 
     not by strength, but perseverance.  ~ Samuel Johnson

Recognition for great works is not my goal in being diligent this year.
My goals are to:

  • be selective in the tasks I choose
  • give constant and earnest effort
  • make the most of my time
  • produce effective results
  • be a positive influence on others

I can't wait to see what can be accomplished through Diligence this year!

What's your #OneWord?

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Reflecting on Relationships

How many of us can resist the urge to look in a mirror when one is present? We look to adjust our hair, makeup, clothes, etc. And then we look again.  We want to be at our best physical appearance before others.  Why then do we find it hard to look into the mirrors of our mind and reflect on ourselves professionally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?  This is a struggle for me, not because I do not like to write, but because putting my mental reflections into words leaves me feeling exposed.  Wait.  I need to reframe that.  I am making myself more open.  Being open is essential to building Relationships.

My #OneWord2018 was Relationships.

I was inspired to choose Relationships as my #OneWord when revisiting the book Innovator's Mindset by George Couros.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

   "If we want meaningful change, we have to make a connection to the 
          heart before we can make a connection to the mind."

I wanted to be part of a spark that started meaningful change in my students, my colleagues, my school, my PLN.  So I focused on Relationships.

Have I seen meaningful change this year?  Not in the way I had imagined.  As I reached out to others this year to make that connection to the heart, I found that I was the one that walked away changed.

Working to be able to call students by name has helped me to connect with students throughout our campus.  In my classes, I make time for students to share what is going on in their lives and I Listen.  I take time to have personal conversations when some students seem to be struggling in class.  What I learn about them helps me to be a better teacher working to meet their individual needs.

My interactions with colleagues, whether in the hallway, during lunch, or in a meeting are more intentional.  I make the time to connect on a personal level, asking about family, friends, and life in general.  These connections have helped me to see other teachers' motivations or "Why".  I have responded by sharing handwritten notes of appreciation and resources through email.

When planning a training on Personalized PD, I invited another teacher to present with me.  Being able to collaborate on the presentation made it more well rounded and beneficial for all.  I plan on seeking out others and helping them to share their voice, as well.

One of the biggest areas of change was in the relationships I found through #2menandabook Voxer book studies.  I joined their 4 O'clock Faculty Voxer book study in January of this year.  Having the opportunity to hear so many voices and perspectives on the book and be able to share my own was an amazing experience.  More amazing still is that the group we formed in January is still going strong!

At the end of the book study so many of us did not want the discussion to end!  We agreed to stay connected and formed the #4OCFpln.  We have the opportunity to share, challenge, question, encourage, and push each others' thinking on a daily basis.  Topics of discussion range anywhere from personal sagas to pedagogy.  It is not uncommon for any one of us to send out the bat signal for help on questions we need answered.  We have become a family!

Because of my #4OCFpln , I have: presented PD outside of my district for the first time this year, revived my blog, read more professional books, held a book tasting which lead to a Teach Like a Pirate book study on my campus, and guest moderated on a few Twitter chats.  I will also be connecting with a few of my Texas #4OCFpln while attending TCEA for the first time in 2019.  I look forward to meeting even more of my #4OCFpln family in ISTE next summer as we present as a panel on the power of connections using Voxer!

Connections are powerful whether we make them on Voxer, Twitter, or in our daily lives.  Even though I am choosing a new word for 2019, I plan to continue working on my relationships and hope to continue seeing a positive change in myself and others in the future!