Yesterday we said goodbye to my wife’s parents after a wonderful weekend showing them around Milwaukee, eating great food, and catching up. As soon as they were out the door my wife started digging through the two suitcases of memories that they brought her from storage. There were old dolls, her baby blanket, and lots of old notes, projects and assignments from her school years. While watching and listening to her sort through all of those artifacts it struck me at how many memories she had of specific projects, teachers, and classes going all the way back to elementary school. She made positive comments about numerous teachers, laughed as she remembered the fun times with classmates, and continuously reflected on how much she enjoyed school. It was a great reminder of the impact we are having on our students every single day!
In education we don’t always get to see the payoff. Sometimes it takes years for the lessons to take hold and for students to really see their learning. 20 some years from now there will probably be a former student of yours laughing and smiling as they look back on their time in your class. Not only is the work you do helping our students learn important skills and academic lessons for their future but you’re also creating a love of learning and fostering a sense of curiosity that will drive them for the rest of their life!
Every day you are giving your students a gift that they may not be able to appreciate just yet, but you give it nonetheless. You are all champions for your students, each and every day you work hard to ensure that your students have every opportunity to be successful. You make a difference in your students’ lives. It is inspiring to see all that you do for them!!
If you have just eight minutes to be inspired today please watch this Ted Talk by Rita Pierson. You may have seen it, over 10 million people have, but it’s worth watching again (I think I’ve seen it at least 10 times myself). She is inspirational beyond words and may just give you the boost you need on a Monday morning 🙂
Happy American Thanksgiving everyone! It would be remiss of me not to at least give a moment of thanks to each and every one of you for all that you do for our kids, “Thank you!” Being the “communicator” that I am, I wanted to make sure I said that before I got off and rambling on something else…
The last couple days have been a wonderful opportunity for us to look a little deeper at ourselves and think about how we can use what is already within us to be better teachers. Going through the Strengths Finder activities yesterday really helped me to begin thinking about how my strengths can be maximized to make me a better educator and leader. Another aspect that was pointed out a few times are the dynamics of how different people and teams work together based on the combinations of strengths within the group. Understanding the 34 different strength themes is a very important step toward building a strong collaborative environment. Also, so is knowing each others strengths. To that end, I’ve followed the example of a friend of mine from SAS (Singapore) and added my five strongest themes to my email signature. In so doing, I’m hoping to inspire some of you to do the same. Now that we all have this common context, it seems only logical that we use it to maximize the strengths of the whole team, not just ourselves! Feel free to stop and modify your signature now 🙂
The work that we do together on a daily basis is far too important to do alone. Looking around the stage yesterday and contemplating all of the different strengths we have as a collective group is astonishing. The sheer wealth of knowledge and experience we had in that room could, combined, be strong enough to move mountains. As a school we already do a very good job of collaborating and working together. Deliberately focusing on our strengths will only lead to better things down the road!! I’m a big sports fan and I love sports analogies despite the fact that so many of them sound cliché. However, I’m going to use one…even the best players in the history of team sports couldn’t do it alone…Michael Jordan, Pele, Mia Hamm, Jerry Rice, or Wayne Gretzky wouldn’t have stood a chance without the help and support of their teammates. Take a second and close your eyes, think about the stage on Thursday afternoon…there were a lot of amazing minds up there, feel free to engage with as many of those as possible!!
It’s very inspiring to sit along side all of you and think about how much collective intelligence is in the room, thank you! It’s also inspiring to think about all the potential in the world…you futurists know what I’m talking about…so take a few minutes to play with this super cool toy from the BBC. It’s a customizable look at how the Earth has changed since you were born and a fun way to think about all that has happened around you so far during your life. I’m only 17 years old on Mars, my heart has beat 1 billion times already in my life, there have been 385 major earthquakes since I was born, and the average life expectancy in the world has increased 7.5 years (Earth years) in my life time…what about you?