Wednesday, January 24, 2018

IMPACT


Last year I tried blogging for the first time and it fell short, so I tried again a few months later once again falling short of my expectations. I am hoping the third time’s the charm!
Last week was the turning point in my decision to try one more time. I have spent the last week trying to decide what I would possibly write about and who would even read what I had to say not to mention how it was going to benefit me as an educator. Many things happened this last week that brought clarity like I have never had before.
Our school district joins with 8 others on Martin Luther King day for a multi district inservice, a day I look forward to every year. What an amazing time to embrace education while sitting in a room full of more than 600 educators who have an enormous IMPACT on the lives of students and their families. We start the day with a keynote speaker I always hope will inspire me. We then breakout into sessions led by educators within the districts on many different topics. This year my role was bigger in the planning of this day, because although it was not at our school this year we will be hosting it for the next three years. Nerves and excitement have settled in as I look to the amazing things that will be happening within the walls of our brand new school next year. Not only am I a little nervous about what I will need to accomplish next year, I have to meet and introduce our keynote speaker to the entire group followed by presenting a session on Genius Hour with my grade partner. Our 4th grade team has just introduced GH to our classes with no other experience. In other words talk about a huge concept we had not yet seen fully through in our classroom. Nerves were getting the better of me as I drove into the parking lot that morning. As if that wasn’t enough two days later my oldest son, who is in the Air National Guard, would be heading overseas (deploying for the first time) until next summer. This was something weighing heavily on my mind that day on top of everything else. And as for all teachers, my life outside of school was affecting how I may perform inside.
As I waited to greet out keynote speaker, who I should mention has been a huge influence on me as an educator this last year, I was getting anxious about how the day would play out. Once I showed him where to go and get set up my amazing grade partner who knows me so well came in the room with my phone, which I had forgotten to grab, because of course I wanted a selfie with this amazing speaker. As I went to take the picture he said a few words that IMPACTED how my day would go. He took the phone and said “I’ve got you” and quickly snapped the pictures I was so excited to get. Now to him this was not a big deal. I am sure he has taken a million selfies with teachers like me and just needed to hurry things up so he could get back to work setting up, but as I contemplated what to blog about that hit me.  “I’ve got you” three simple words and the enormous IMPACT they have. It was followed up by humor and small talk with someone who kept it real that put me at ease.
That morning I got up a spoke in front of my colleagues, peers, and good friends that were in the crowd, which I never ever do, without a butterfly in my stomach. All that worry went away, because in those few words I felt like I had this. The funny thing was he was only referring to the picture when the words were said, but it influenced my whole day. The session about Genius Hour was great, but I found myself wanting to get back to our keynote speaker to learn more from someone who made me feel so comfortable and confident in an uncomfortable situation. That day was exactly what I want to give students! I want them to trust in me and want to be looking forward to learning more from me. I was the student that day and it was awesome.
Those words came back to me last night when I was on the ski hill with a student. I started introducing an after school ski club to my school a couple of years ago. I would highly recommend participating in something like this outside of school if you can as it has helped create amazing relationships. This student is very cautious and was extremely nervous to take on one of the bigger hills on the last run down for the night. His choice was to head in or take one last run down the hill with me and 2 other kids. He said he wanted to go and then no and then yes and then no and finally it was a yes. The other skiers went down quickly leaving us on the top of the hill. The fear was written all over his face and as we started down I looked at him and said “I’ve got you”. Wow those words are powerful! He followed me down and about half way turned to me and said he was rethinking this idea. I laughed and said there was no turning back now. He made it down that hill and pride replaced that look for fear.  As I got to school this morning he was one of the first kids to pop in my room to say good morning and beamed with pride when he told the principal how he had taken on a huge hill last night. The IMPACT those words had was amazing.
The IMPACT we have is HUGE and it comes when we don’t even realize it sometimes. I have seen many posts lately about people choosing a word that drives them and for me it would be IMPACT. Thank you to @georgecouros for the push to take another shot at blogging and being an HUGE IMPACT on who I am as an educator.

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