For a variety of reasons, my school year in 2018-19 was both very rewarding and heart-breaking. I experienced some pretty heart-whelming highs and some devastating lows. While I am so very fortunate - I had and continue to have phenomenal support teams in my life: at home, at school and beyond, my year was full of changes that I had difficulty coming to grips with. (Thank you all - you make me better, and I can’t do this without you). As I head into the 2019-2020 year and into a new role - whether or not this is the case - self doubt still plagues me.
Did I do right by my previous school? Do they think I tried my best? Did I try enough? Did I DO enough? Do they think I cared? Do they know I cared? Did I care enough? What about all the things I could and should have done now in retrospect? Did I make a difference for those who needed it?
What about my new role? Did they hire the right person? Am I just an imposter? Do I have what it takes? Can I do this? How can I do this when I feel so incompetent? What if I make too many mistakes? Do I have the right vision, the right voice? Should they have hired one my more-talented colleagues instead? Can I make a difference that matters?
For a variety of reasons, I need to turn this around or it will consume me. I mean, I know that it’s ok to be uncomfortable, but this is getting a little ridiculous. Time for a #oneword focus.
One Word Idea #1 - MAKE
I am big into the maker movement so my first idea was “make”. We have this word peering through the office window.
If I look at that word… can I visualize….
How I can make my mindset change?
How I can make a difference?
How I can make the learning happen?
Ummmm… not convinced. Too much to think about.
One Word Idea #2 - TURN
What about this one? When I look at this word… can I visualize...
How I can turn the lights on? (both metaphorically and literally) Seriously. This is a thing. The first day in the new office, it took me five frantic minutes to find the light switch. HOW CAN I DO THIS JOB IF I CAN’T EVEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO TURN ON THE LIGHTS?!?! Update: I did find the light switch. I did turn the lights on. Deep breath. One step at a time. You got this.
How I can turn around my thinking - quit beating yourself up for heaven’s sake! How I can make a turn for the better - how I can turn less than optimal experiences (aka failures) into learning opportunities?
Ok, I’m liking this word better.
One Word Idea #3 - BE
This weekend we dog sat for my sister-in-law. Two great things came from this experience:
What if I’m overanalyzing everything? Why don’t I use this advice to guide me this year? Instead of letting those self doubts continue to pile on and overwhelm me, just take a deep breath and take it in, moment by moment.
Be the be I want to be.
Breathe ...and BE.
I can do this everyone.
I just need to be.
The one word I chose to live my live by last year was BALANCE. Balance is something I struggle with and continue to struggle with. The fact that I currently have 14 open tabs in my browser is a living testament :}.
While I do believe I achieved balance in some aspects of my life last year and had some really peaceful moments, I have to ask myself at what cost?
Did I balance myself only when I had no other option? Why do I run myself continuously into the ground, where the only option is to take a break or break down? And when I'm actually taking the rest I need, why do I feel guilty and why do the thoughts in the back of my head keep reverting to all the things I need to get done, all the things I NEED to do? And why do I always feel like I'm not doing enough, or I'm not enough?
When is enough going to be ENOUGH for me? As as aside, this is why I always got in trouble in my high school job as a waitress. It wasn't enough for me to do my job, I also had to run around and help everyone do theirs. :) Not much has changed. I still act the same - that need to do and learn and much as I can is still wholeheartedly present; an admirable trait in some contexts, but in others...not so much.
My life sometimes feels like a roller coaster - sometimes I ride the euphoric highs and sometimes I struggle to get up that hill - professionally and personally. I know that I'm not alone and that we all struggle. I accept this. But I also know that this does not need to be the case, that I can do something about it. I know, deep in my heart that I am strong, that I am capable, that I do make a difference (ok, I really hope I make a difference for my students) .... but this is not easy for me to admit. It is not easy for me to stop, and slow down.
So I think my one word this year needs to be focus.
Focus on what is important.
Focus on what really needs to get done by ME and what others can do.
Focus on letting go - I do not need to do it all, although I really, really, want to.
Focus on what is feasible in my life without running myself down.
Focus on what is a "yes, I can do this" and what is a "no thank you, not right now".
Focus on building the building of me...you know - strong, capable ... making a difference in the right ways.
Here's hoping to a more focused 2019.
I feel better already. :)
Labour Day has always been precarious for me. My nerves are jangling and I know my sleep will be fraught with nightmares of myself going to school in my pyjamas. Beginning at 1:00 am, and every hour until I get up, I will wake up, look at my alarm clock and heave a sigh of relief. I have not slept in...yet.
Our learning will take us in many directions and that your voice will be instrumental in deciding where we will go.
Angela Stockman shared a post a few days ago that really has me thinking.
This year I'd like to continue to explore the intentional use of various digital and non-digital tools in order for our students to document their own learning. I am hoping using purposeful prompts and teaching strategies can and will go a long way to engage our students in the monitoring and regulation of their learning, while they are learning.
How was I going to use them with a class? I had to try something right away!
My look-fors where quite simple as I just wanted to see what the students could do with these blocks and what was possible. Initially when delivering this invitation to the students, I told them that I was actually looking to see how they could be creative, and how they would work collaboratively to brainstorm ideas. I was also going to be looking at the quality of questions they asked of each other and the impact that these questions had on their iteration.
What I wonder:
Where might we go next?
It never ceases to amaze me that the more I think I have things figured out... the more I realize really don't know what I'm doing.
The biggest challenge for me to tackle in documentation is to determine the what and the how I should specifically be looking for in learning.
We began by identifying the learning goals involved in this experience: