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!

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