Tag: #motivation

Monday! A great gift to unwrap!

What gifts did you unwrap this Christmas you found to be the most important to you? I love to hear about traditions and unique gifts people share during the Christmas season. It is my favorite holiday for so many reasons, and one I love to celebrate each day of the year.

Monday’s can be a day hard to face if you are greeting it after a holiday break, experiencing a loss, or coming to a place you do not want to be. Now others are thinking, no way I am so excited for today! I love getting back to work and seeing people I have missed.

The holidays can be stressful! We always try to make them as easy as possible with pure fun and enjoyment. This year I wanted Christmas to be a game for the kids. I am big on passing down pieces of family memories, but this year I wanted to let the kids begin to start recording their own. However, I did not know that on December 22, I would receive an unwanted gift. A phone call told my husband and me, “your biopsy is positive for cancer, breast cancer.”

Nothing changes in how we continue in facing our days. Our gifts would be unwrapped just as we planned. No need to let the unwanted gift of this news tear open the plans of happiness for the best Christmas ever for the grandchildren!

Giving gifts are the best, but receiving is lovely too! I am so grateful for the hearts of my grandchildren and how their parents allow them to be authentic as they grow. My grandson was able to shop at school for us. He bought a coffee mug for grandpa, “Grandpa, you are out of this world,” with a UFO and martian. He bought me a beautiful necklace that had an oyster shell to open to find a pearl to place inside the heart. My granddaughter bought an essential oil diffuser with oils she specifically picked out to help with reading and writing. “Deep Thoughts and Mindfulness.” My youngest grandson gave me the gift of slippers and socks to keep me warm and safe.

I could not have asked for a better Christmas with these beautiful children, a loving husband, an amazing daughter, and a son-in-law. Our friends helped us always support this time to celebrate, and they are the best!

Some gifts you unwrap you want to return, you think to yourself, what were they thinking? My grandson yelled out after opening a gift, “You know me so well!” Then you are left with some gifts you do not know what to do with, but with the many gifts you receive, always remember the blessings you have and the gift that can never be taken from you. As you reflect on those blessings, let me share the one gift I gave to the children was a picture book all about them! Memories, make them!

Solutions Weekly

December 5-11, 2021

December 5-11, 2021

Recover, Motivate, Reward

Covid-19 contributes to our systems, with new variants popping up to prompt officials to review practices and issue mandates. Schools look at the numbers rise and wonder if they will recover. How can they continue to motivate staff and students? Will educators have rewards for the hard work they are doing this year? How will students recover from interrupted services and be motivated during challenging times? This week we can take a look at all of this and more!

Leading underachieving

Are students not motivated in learning? What if they are not at the level of learning to communicate motivation? How do we support a learning environment to promote motivation?

Students who aren’t “motivated” according to their academic achievement levels are motivated, just not motivated to do what we want them to do. Recently, I walked the halls of a school and peered into classrooms to see a variety of levels of engagement and motivation.

The leader’s issues multiply by lack of consistency in teaching staff with several substitute teachers in place, International teachers in the area to relieve the teacher shortage, students at different learning levels, and finding staffing to support them. This week we can look for more solutions to help support.

Rediscovering Learning-Building Connections

The delivery of instruction changed and left educators rediscovering the learning inequities as the environments flipped from virtual, hybrid, and in person. We can look at how these changes have caused us to pause and rethink homework, relationships, and assignments.

In addition, recognizing building relationships is essential and prioritizing working intentionally together. Being connected is not about technology but individual human relationships. We can look at learning and relationship building during the shifts we continue to experience.

Empowerment instead of disengagement

I was an administrator in my daughter’s school district; she attended high school at the time several years ago. I can remember the teacher saying to me, “I teach the lesson, and it is up to the students to learn.” Ironically, this teacher was my teacher in high school as well. I said, “I understand what you are saying to me, but that is not what teaching is all about. I also believe you are confusing her with another student. Can you double-check when you are posting grades?”

I spoke with my daughter about my conversation and told her I expected both of them to improve. On the next test, her score was the highest of all tests given. She needed a little push to empower her.

We have to determine the barriers students may be facing and why they disengage. What can we do to support and remove barriers? Not only identify barriers for students but staff as well.

Making Space to keep tension from destroying morale

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.

Staying Motivated

Some days we may find it hard to stay motivated. Life can bring us an opportunity, a challenge, and adventures at times. As you look at the quote from Mother Tersesa and her look at life what can you connect with at this moment in time?

Have you had opportunities in life? Are you amid a chance right now, and you are looking at how to make the most out of it? Do you have a dream? What is keeping you from it?

Did you know that most of the time, it is ourselves that keep us from realizing our dreams and reaching success? Get motivated to take action today!

Solution Weekly

October 24–31

Stay Motivated

Every day is an opportunity! You will hear me say this often. It is a gift you unwrap each morning to use in any way you choose. What are the choices you will make today to help be the solution daily?

Teaching Tip

If you are in the teaching profession today, why? Why did you become a teacher? Most likely, you have a vision of individuals who inspired you to dive into this profession. It is the inspiration that often leads us into the lifelong career paths we find ourselves in today.

Looking at your classroom today, you have seated in your room many different career paths. You may be looking at someone who will be standing in your spot one day. I know my teachers would never have guessed the career path I have made, and you can’t either. However, you can do what teachers did for you! Your teachers inspired you! Students’ excitement should rarely exceed our own- unless a student arrives with a strong interest in what we are teaching. If you have a student who shows up like this, then capture this and generate energy to get everyone excited!

Wisdom

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do we reflect on how we were inspired to do what we do and why? Who is asking the students in your classroom the questions about inspiration? Who are their influences? What are we doing to help them find inspiration?

Leadership

Leaders have many responsibilities and essential aspects involved in the role of a leader. The list of tasks to complete daily to operate ( manage) the operations daily can be overwhelming. Administrators in school-level buildings have little time left for the essential piece of their role; teaching and learning.

So how can a leader balance all of the manager’s duties and essential pieces of their responsibility? There are many ways but let’s start with the basics. “The 21 Responsibilities and Day-to-Day Management of a School” (Marzano, Waters, McNulty, School Leadership that Works pg.98)

  • Develop a strong school leadership team
  • Distribute some responsibilities throughout the leadership team
  • Select the right work
  • Identify the order of magnitude implied by the selected work
  • Match the management style to the order of magnitude of the change

Many blessings to you this week! I look forward to your comments, questions, ideas, and thoughts. Conversations are shared to bring about possibilities of new ideas, thoughts, and solutions to problems. This week I have been asked to help out at the Illinois Principal Conference. This takes me back to my beginning as a leader. There will be many familiar faces but so many new leaders. I am blessed to return and to see the excitement this conference brings.

Wednesday Wisdom

Which comes first, wisdom or knowledge? Wisdom is built on knowledge. So does that mean you can be both wise and knowledgeable? Then you can’t be wise without being knowledgeable. What do you think? Is it the same as an egg before chicken or the chicken before an egg?

Knowledge is knowing about something. I have knowledge of the food in my garden and what grows on my trees. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge I have. In addition, how to use it in context. Like this old example: knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad. However, some people would say this is common sense.

I believe knowledge is gathered from learning and education. The more knowledge you gain about a subject area you can be identified as an expert in the area. Just because you have knowledge, it does not make you wise. When you have knowledge, you can make decisions with clarity of facts and truths.

In order for individuals to gain wisdom, it must be gathered from day-to-day experiences and is a state of being wise. Wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life from the individual’s knowledge and experience.

Wisdom is a virtue. Is that a true statement? Wisdom can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things, reflecting on the process, analyzing, testing your knowledge and having a growth mindset has the ability to gain wisdom. In this process one should have knowledge first in order to become wise.

How do you compare knowledge and wisdom? Do you know individuals who are wise?

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.

Time to take out the Garbage!

If you are a parent, you may have given the chore of taking out the garbage to one of your children. Maybe it is your partner’s responsibility or yours alone. No matter who is responsible, I think we can all agree it stinks!

Have you ever considered we accumulate garbage in other places? I am not referring to the piles of stuff gathered in the garage, basement, attic, or closet! I am talking about your mind. We collect lots of mental garbage gradually over time, making the most optimistic individual question. Our messy mental collection begins to clutter our minds with negative thoughts, irrational thoughts, unreasonable ideas, and unhelpful solutions. Before we know it, our minds can be compared to the landfill our regular garbage collectively goes.

How can we sort this out? Anything worth recycling? What about renewing and reuse? Our minds need to be added to our chore list before our thinking turns from healthy to sloppy! It’s time to talk to someone you can trust to recycle your thoughts into positives! I always start with God.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Philippians 4:8

My daughter is an excellent special education teacher. I am her mother, so you know I will say that, but many others do as well. The parents, students, and staff she works with share the same thoughts. She, as well as many other educators, are struggling. They are not the only professional groups struggling. The jobs they do are challenging as they pour their hearts into them, but when you add all of this “drama” and divisions, it becomes more difficult. She wonders where all of this hate, division, and power control comes from that is influencing confusion daily.

It is essential to follow the science but not the scientists. Science is a foundation constant with no biases. Opinions, prejudices, and funders influence scientists.

The foundation of values, beliefs, and laws are the truths that formed our country. Many have fought, lost their lives to continue to maintain its foundation and to improve the quality for all. The Constitution of the United States provides our guidance as our foundation.

Daily we have many thoughts provided to us. We can listen to all of the opinions, ideas, and talking points. It is in our control on the action steps we take with what is presented. We do not need to spend hours thinking about them or becoming angry. Just take out the trash! Recycle those negative thoughts into positive ones. This is a healthy choice! Take one step further. Do some positive actions to help react to negative effects. We need more positives! Can we provide those who are doing all the talking with more positives to talk about? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of taking out the trash!