Every day counts in our lives of service to others. Knowing how to focus your service on others is a massive part of helping to target the needs to grow. Start your week out right with a Meaningful Monday!
Everyone makes mistakes! I think some individuals think they can’t make a mistake. Worse than thinking you can’t make a mistake is needing help and not asking for it. Think about mistakes, talk with others and discuss if it is easy to ask for help.
“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”Oh Mandino
As my title states, intelligent people or knowledgeable individuals will not ask for help when they need to ask. Not asking for help is a big mistake. They allow their clouded judgment to get in the way, or is it ego?
Thinking you may know more about everything than anyone else is not a good choice. Considering we know more is another mistake of closing the door to opportunities for learning and resources when you tune them out. Have you ever been in a professional development workshop and watched as others graded papers or did stuff on their phone?
Avoiding, hiding, and ignoring problems hoping they will go away is a huge mistake. These actions make concerns grow more extensive. We have to address issues and the people causing the problem.
- Ask for help when needed
- Never allow yourself to think you know everything
- Control reactions by learning to adapt
- Avoiding, ignoring and hiding problems makes them grow. Instead, stand up to face and resolve.
Be aware of your thinking and your actions. Making mistakes happens to all of us. Let’s not make them a habit. We deal with invaluable children to lose sight of the significance of our work.
One of the needs every individual has is to feel validated. As educators, we set it as a priority to establish positive relationships with co-workers, students, and families. However, we do not spend enough time helping each other learn how to accomplish them. One way is mentoring!
Why not start a mentoring program at your school? Teachers mentor other teachers, staff members mentor students, students mentor students, parents help to mentor other mentors. When mentoring becomes the norm, you can begin to see a more helpful and welcoming environment. The wonderful thing about mentoring is the benefit both receive!
In that list of mentors, I left out the most crucial role that needs a mentor the most, the principal. Often we forget to feed our leaders with rich development and dedicated support to help the schools the most. Is there a fear of having a mentor or coach? Is this a signal the leadership is not strong? I sure hope not.
Mentors are “trusted” wise individuals who offer advice, suggestions, ideas, teach, and model. Sooner or later in our lives, we all need inspiration, direction, and instruction as we face many different things. Even mentors and coaches need to have someone to help them too. We can prepare, be informed, and try to keep up with everything, but if we try that approach, burnout is what we will have.
Modeling for others is the best way to get mentoring started. Provide information about your mentoring experience and see if anyone is interested in participating. Mentors are the best cheerleaders for those they are mentoring. They are also the ones that will provide a reality check—in addition, stretching you to reach beyond your comfort zone to achieve goals.
Rules to Mentoring
- Help establish goals
- Be an active listener
- Ask questions to stretch thinking
- Facilitate Problem Solving with an open-minded approach
- Be consistent with offering time
- Confidentiality and trustworthy
- Keep the focus on the individual and not you
- Honest feedback
Expectations from Receiving Mentoring
- Help with goal setting
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses
- Providing new ways to look at situations
- Learning new skills
- Gathering tools, strategies, and resources
- Networking with others to build professional connections
- Confidence, Inspiration, Motivation
Every mentoring relationship is different. How you set up your work together is how the outcomes will be developed. At the first meeting together, you can establish the goals you want from the mentoring process.
Find a place, the time, a system, a technique, or your way to make space for dealing with the tension you face. Each day in school, some level of stress is confronted by someone. Where there is tension, you will find morale going down. As we all faced the challenges of COVID and the changes which went along with this pandemic, stress followed.
Developing how we respond to tension, stress, and anxiety will help keep morale on production levels. When individuals face pressure, the results are the same with stories of frustration, hopelessness, anger, conflicts, and a breakdown in cooperation can occur when tension is high. We can work on finding solutions to guide us in addressing stress.
Steps and Solutions
The first step in any situation is to always pause with focus. Give your attention to the individual experiencing the tension. If you do not, they may believe you are not taking the situation seriously.
Second, actively listening to the individual or individuals can set the tone to calming. If you interrupt or argue in this process, individuals believe you are not hearing them but trying to impose your desires on them. Just listening, paying attention to feelings and concerns helps to validate them. As you participate in this process, acknowledge and recognize the work, effort, and commitment of those you are listening to boost morale. Listen to hear and learn to help find solutions.
The best way to help individuals know you are listening and you hear them is to paraphrase the conversation. Let them know you understand their need and concern.
After focusing, actively listening, repeating to them what you heard and understood, it is time to offer possible solutions. Always be prepared for other ideas and solutions to the situation. A great statement posted by a teacher on Twitter said, “Principals, if you ask me if I am okay and I tell you why I am not okay. Please do not respond with, “I am sorry to hear that.” Be ready to help find solutions! It is not the time to place blame or criticize.
One additional step in reducing tension, stress, anxiety, and deflation in morale is the use of humor. Relationships and connections should be permanently established. Go See the Principal by Gerry Brooks is an excellent book with examples of how educators can connect daily. Humor diffuses tension, provides opportunities to “cool down” when tempers rise to allow for rational responses instead of impulsive reactions.
Time for laughter
If your work environment does not include laughter, please be the one to add it. Help others bring more each day. Classrooms need it as well. Our basic needs in life are necessary to be met, and laughter is one needed by all.
In education, we measure, collect data, and report on students’ performance at grade levels. However, what matters in the big picture of learning? Accountability of the test scores reported on the school, district, and the teacher in the evaluation process plays an important role. Teachers are asked to set growth goals; schools do the same, and districts are told to keep up. So what matters to student achievement?
“In reality, it is through classroom assessment that attitudes, skills, knowledge, and thinking are fostered, nurtured, and accelerated-or stifled.”-Hynes
For the last decades, the measurement of what mattered to the standardized test scores did not equal the results in the overall learning capacity. These measurements lead to increased test scores in areas but without increased learning. Students could memorize information but not apply skills. Students need to have a clear understanding of the content and the skills. The instruction and measurement must have a balance between content and skills.
Transferring knowledge to other areas requires students to have a high-level understanding of the skills and content to apply in various contexts. In measuring this level of expertise, it moves beyond multiple-choice and short answer questions. Students will need to demonstrate through problem-solving, analyzing data to conclude, matching learning to a rubric with other anchor papers, or testing a hypothesis.
The critical solution as a takeaway is this: The meaning, purpose, and values students see in what they are learning will play the most significant role in the retention of learning, motivation to use the teaching, and the interest to continue to learn.
I had written before about excellent teachers who were the best storytellers to hook students into learning and those who were so creative! I believe in students being in charge of their knowledge as they lead themselves in goal setting and explaining where they are regarding the learning standards journey. Student lead conferences are the very best as students take charge of presenting their progress.
As you hold conversations with your team on what matters keep these questions in mind:
- What steps do you need to take to align learning measurement tools and practices in your classroom? School? District?
- Making these changes would impact students how?
- What measurements do you have in place? Do you utilize all of them, and how? Do some measure the same thing? Do you have too many, not enough, or not the correct measurements?
Keep in mind the title of the post. What Matters! Student Achievement is the purpose of education. Along with achievement are learning, discovering, asking, inquiry, and stretching minds. It is in finding the love of learning. In addition, it is the character, hopes, inspiration, relationships, understanding of acceptance, dealing with difficulty, mistakes, overcoming trauma, and so much more that matters. Life is complicated, and unfortunately, it starts young with all of its trials. Know your children, families, staff, and community. There are supports for what matters! If you need help finding them let me know. We will be the solution daily for what matters.
Today is a great day, to begin with posing a question with a question! Wait, I mean, pose a question. No, I mean, ask a question. Do you know what I mean?
You can both “ask” and “pose” a question, but the two words come with different meanings. To “ask” is a verb that means we’re seeking information (or, in this case, an answer to our question). “To pose” is a verb that means to pause, meaning that we’re waiting while people ponder the information we’ve put forward.
When we “ask” a question, we direct it at someone, in particular, expecting to answer. If we “pose” a question, we generally throw it out for others to think about and respond later.
If I ask you what 2+2=, you will be able to give me an answer pretty quick. However, if I pose the mathematical question differently, it may be harder to answer without thought. An example like this: Simple addition problems are easy to calculate; how do we add up what it takes to be happy?
It is Monday, Daylight Savings time why are we so full of questions?
“Monday motivation helps moments turn into memorable memories!”
Be the solution daily! Discover today what the future holds! Could you make it happen? Yes, you can!
Have you ever questioned if you should, could, or would? Is there a voice that tells you not today, maybe tomorrow, but when it becomes tomorrow, you start over?
If this sounds like you, you are not alone! How do you overcome this negative talk? One day, each moment and every second of the day by saying: I can, I will, I am going to work each day to get closer to my goals and to make a positive impact. We do not have to invent the next big device, create the best masterpiece or become famous for a great speech. It is in the day to day actions we take to improve the lives of those around us and others in the world we share.
It seems sometimes we place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to measure our accomplishments, wealth, social media “likes,” “followers,” or “shares.” We also look at what we have or don’t have.
If we do this as adults, think about the pressure children experience with all of the sources they have to ensure they get the approval rating they seek. When does the negative talk start?
How can we dial down these sources of frustration? What are other sources? These sources contribute to our negative self-talk. What can leaders do to increase positive sources of impact on lives daily?
- Know the individuals who work with you. Greet them by name each day.
- When an individual is absent and they return say, “I am glad to see you today; we missed you.” If you know why they were gone, be careful not to make a public statement as they may not want others to know.
- Provide positive praise when achieved, do not fake anything.
- Ask how you can help.
It is not easy to escape situations that can impact our lives negatively, but with knowledge of how to manage these situations, we can prevent the impact on our lives. We need to start teaching these strategies early in life as we know technology is introduced to our children at an early age and as the sources increase, the possibility of negatives can occur.
It is you, yes today and tomorrow, to help yourself and others bring positives each day to drown out the negatives!
In 2004 Rolling Stones labeled John Lennon’s song Imagine the third greatest song of all time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Stone%27s_500_Greatest_Songs_of_All_Time The list was updated again in 2010, and it remains in its same ranked position.
I have utilized the theme of “Imagine” several times over my career in education in different settings and ways. It is a timeless vision of hope and inspiration. The word has been used in the last couple of years as “re-imagine” to view how things already established should be changed. Could manipulating the word imagine like this take the elements of hope and inspiration away?
I am guilty of getting caught up in the overuse of word verbiage and trying to do catchy phrasing to grab the attention of others. Creativity should never risk the foundation of the meaning. Imagine is creating “new ideas.” We need foundations as a world to stand on for us to begin to live as one.
The song Imagine by Lennon was recorded in 1971. During this year, society was feeling the turmoil of the ’60s as demonstrations were being held against the Vietnam War. Apollo 15 landed on the moon. Gloria Steinem spoke in America at the feminist movement. A hectic time in society.
Looking at our society today, we are living and feeling turmoil as well. We have experienced demonstrations, an established Space Force now, and a “Me too” movement to support women’s healing involved in sexual violence. In addition, dealing with a global pandemic, mistrust in government, clear divisions, continued rise of social and mental health needs, and the list could continue. Parents are apprehensive about their children’s education during this time of shutdowns, mask mandates, vaccination mandates, curriculum modifications, and how to address the needs of all children.
Music and education reflect what happens in society during the points of time in history. One of my favorite songs is Heal the World by Michael Jackson; he released it in 1991. It is a beautiful song and reminder of clips of history we have overcome but still work to keep moving forward in making things better for the next generation. This short video clip of Kids United is from 2016.
If you could write a song for today to help inspire those worldwide, what would be the key phrases you would use? Would you please share a few thoughts and impressions? I look forward to words of encouragement, wisdom, inspiration, and more!
A foundational piece we can stand on to move forward with improvements for the next generation and to fuel our souls with hope begins with_________________.
It is a blessed day because of you! Share Monday motivation, moments of kindness, minutes of memory-making, and more meaningful conversations with those you meet!
Pick a favorite quote and post it so you can see it all the time. Could you share them with others? Drop a note to co-workers, be the positive light and help others find hope.