Has anyone tried to damage your Character?
Wednesday offers time to think of wisdom we can share. What things do you think about?
To be a good leader, you need to____________________.
If there is one thing to remember, it is_________________.
Children need to______________.
Today is the best time to________________.
What fill-in-the-blank could you create to help generate thoughts and conversation? I know as teachers, we have asked students to complete fill-in-the-blank questions and consider them to be recall information on tests. What if we present them in different ways to spark conversations and discuss them in different ways?
I am a big fan of student-led conferencing, which I have stated before in other posts. I also believe in strong partnerships with families and communities. The more we can invest in the quality of services and support for our children, the more robust the foundation will be as they grow.
Are we asking families any fill-in-the-blank questions that could generate quality conversations to build on? We ask students- What do they want to be when they grow up? Why not ask parents- What would you want your child to be when they grow up? I know when I have asked this question of students, I will get responses of professional football or basketball player. I had a parent tell me the same thing about their child. (I have to say to you, I do not recruit for professional teams, but I did not see the talent.) You do not want to shatter dreams or discourage hope for others. After all, I wanted to be a Rockett when I was younger, taking dance lessons. My dream was shattered when I found out they had a height requirement; it had nothing to do with talent. This is my story so that I can tell it this way.
Dreams are wonderful to have! I have pointed out in other posts the need for children to have life experiences, have opportunities to explore outside their comfort zones, and learn about things they do not know on a day-to-day basis. The influences in a child’s life help them discover more about what they are interested in, passionate about, and areas of strength. If they only experience what is around them, they are limited to what they think, know, and understand. The same goes for their family. This is why it is essential to expand what we do to embrace school, home, and community working together.
Tell your story
Our school has a strong partnership with___________________? This helps all students _________________? We love __________________about our school. If we all_____________together_________________will happen.
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.
The purpose of education seems to have different meanings when you ask other groups. If we look through the political accountability lens, the goal is to increase standards and raise requirements for test scores to reflect passing levels. Students may see education as just going to school, following the rules, and turning in their assignments. Families look at it as a way for their children to build a solid foundation to prepare for college and careers.
As we look at Teaching and Learning, we will discover more of how our teachers build lessons daily to empower students for today, tomorrow, and all of the days following. Many aspects of teaching and learning support all of the needs of learners.
Students begin learning the first day they enter a classroom. Each day they are present, they must know and take the learning with them. Students need to understand and value the teaching they are doing. This foundational learning from today carries to the skill building of tomorrow. This promotes the growth required to progress.
Each lesson taught must build on what students already know and guide them to the next level of learning. The purpose of this teaching is to help students feel the growth with their knowledge. To understand the engagement and ability in their influence around them as they continue to embrace learning. Our teachers and education system provide a precise direction grade level by grade level.
It is not just about building blocks for a foundation and following a blueprint of construction as we connect the levels of learning. As teachers, we nourish our students ultimately. The whole child is provided with needs to promote enrichment, physical wellness, promoting a moral compass, and overall conditions for well-being.
I hope as I lead others, they will always gain the knowledge and practice: “Education is something we do with children, not to them. We need to nourish our children with the gift of enriched education, physical wellness, promotion of a moral compass, and always engage in ways to think in the abstract while finding better ways to do things. Our job in education is not to teach children how to think, but to provide opportunities to think, ask questions and consider solutions.”~Yoho
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.
Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy is one of the thought leaders I have followed for several years. I utilized her website/blogs as part of my new teacher mentoring program and, as a principal, sent her tips out in messages to staff.
The piece I am sharing today is comprehensive and follows my philosophy of being the solution daily. Often we identify problems, talk about them, stare at them, and they continue to thrive. Action steps involving change are the catalysts for actual solutions.
As a leader, I have never been offended by her posts. She is straightforward, has strong opinions, and you can judge for yourself if you want to view more. Please take a little time to read her post. It is powerful to me.
As a teacher who worked countless hours then as an administrator, clocking in, even more, I relate to the feeling of exhaustion! I did all my work before COVID, so I know I would not have survived. Blessings to all of our educators!
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.
Do not spread false reports. Exodus 23:1
The coach spots a little boy in the stands with a glove waiting to catch a baseball. The coach decides he will toss a ball to the little boy. Then suddenly, a man swoops in and catches the ball. Cameras snap the picture; video cameras record the moment, and the story goes viral.
Everyone could not believe what this man did to get this ball. He took a baseball meant for a little ball for himself. The pictures and video were shared with comments about this man. How could he take this ball away from this little boy?
As these video clips were shared, no one ever thought to ensure all the information was factual. Everyone could see he jumped in front of the boy and caught the ball. Case closed!
Except viewers watching the clip and the live scene didn’t know the whole story. Earlier in the game, the man had helped the young boy snag a foul ball. They agreed to share any additional balls that would come their way. Unfortunately for the man, it took twenty-four hours before the actual story emerged. The media mob and citizens had already done their damage, demonizing an innocent man.
The world we live in today deals with fragments of information and twists it to meet the narrative they try to push. Facts seem to be few and far between as you try to listen to any media source. The baseball story is factual from 2018 a Chicago Cubs game. This is one example of thousands; I am sure of people who have been judged with fragments of information.
Hook, line, and sinker, we take fragments of information as the whole truth. The evidence is clear before us daily. We must do everything possible to confirm the truth before leveling accusations and going along with the beliefs. We need complete facts making sure not to participate in lies. We should be cautious whenever passions ignite and waves of judgment swell. We want to safeguard ourselves from “following the crowd in doing wrong” In this “gotcha” “cancel culture” time, we see more and more divisions than unity.
Please take the time to look at the bait on the “hook.” Is it fragments or complete? Use the “line” to trace the sources of the story and research the evidence. Is this a “sinker” to bring down someone or everyone? Don’t just swallow it hook, line and sinker! We have ways to help us rise above together, to overcome any hardships, and to float to the top! Be the solution daily in an ocean full of sinkers! Rise up!
Each day we set out to accomplish all of the things on our to-do list, lesson plan, or get the items on the grocery list still sitting at home. Life happens, and we make the most of every situation, just like Mahatma Gandhi in this story:
Gandhi went to board a train one busy day. The train began to move, and he made a jump for it. As he jumped, one of his sandals fell off and landed on the platform. He had no time to get off to retrieve the sandal. Looking down at his one sandal, he made a snap decision. He took his one sandal off and threw it. It landed right next to the other one.
The people on the train looked at him strangely. One individual asked, “Why did you through your sandal?”
Gandhi’s answer, “One sandal wouldn’t do me any good, but two sandals would undoubtedly help someone else.”
There is no one I can reference for this story, but you can find it summarized in many places with the same primary components. The meaningful message in this story is to choose what to focus on and what to leave behind. The sandals had served their purpose for Gandhi but left with one; the purpose was gone. Providing the opportunity for them to help someone else was the best solution.
In our busy days, it is easy to be distracted and to focus on things that we may need to let go of. Take a look at the time of your day. How much do you have to accomplish the tasks you have marked essential? What prevents you from achieving this? Is it emails? Social media? Student behavior? Other interruptions?
- Take a good look at your time on task. This gives you a real opportunity to review the quality of time you are spending on the job you want to achieve.
- -My example of this would be an administrator wanting to get into a block of classrooms to provide feedback on instructional time used for a particular standard in the data report. Specific targets to help teaching and learning.
- -My example of this would be a teacher wanting to check students for understanding new concepts by being distracted by student behaviors.
Connect with your colleagues and discuss areas you feel are distracting and taking your focus away. Do they have similar issues, what solutions and strategies do they have?
Let’s keep this conversation going as we continue to keep our focus on what matters most. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of the things which matter least.”-Johann Wolfgang con Goethe
Have you ever had a day where nothing seems to go right? How does it make you feel? What do you do to get yourself back on the right track?
When I was little, my mom would tell me it was because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. “But yesterday was fine, and I got up the same way.” It just happens some days. You need to lay back down, take a deep breath, and get up on the other side, thinking positively.
I enjoyed reading the post from Jane Perdue. The link to her post from Lead Change is below on her “everything turns to crud.”
What to do:
When things are not going well…
- Stop, think about your actions.
- Take some deep breaths
- Listening to music
- Do something that helps you relax and refocus
- Talk to someone you trust
If this is your first time reading a post of mine, let me please tell you I am not an ordinary individual who always does things the way you expect them to be done. So….I love Walt Disney, crazy acronyms, inspirational videos, music, and thinking way outside the box people feel comfortable being inside of with no complaints, well, a few. When asked, “Who else has tried this or is doing this?” No one, I don’t follow the paths of others; they follow mine. This needs to be your response to get things going!
I was an Assistant Principal in my hometown middle school with an enrollment of 300. It was not too long that I found myself as Principal of a middle school in a large unit district with an enrollment of 600. A very diverse group of students, low-economic and other challenges the students and families faced to thrive. Staff also faced many challenges as they had administrative changes often and did not have opportunities to connect for sustainability. The first words I thought of when I looked at the big picture for all of them was: relationships, trust, connections, and solutions. They all had been through so much and needed the essential foundations to build. We needed solutions that would not be complicated, simple to apply, gave all of us ownership, but most importantly, trust in ourselves, peers, staff, and community.
It takes work, time, and effort to make this kind of climate and culture change. It does not happen on day one. Consistency in what you say and do, today, tomorrow, and every day after. Believe entirely in what you are doing because the perspective of others is what counts in making the change!
On day one with the students, I asked them all to the gymnasium to sit in the bleachers to introduce myself. I asked all staff to leave. Say what? The looks on the faces of the staff matched that of the students. “This lady is crazy; she is not going to make it on day one!” I repeated, “It is okay staff, Take a 10-minute break.” Finally, they began to move. I could still see them standing in the outer hallway. Did they not trust the kids or me? Maybe both of us?
I raised my hand. I started asking kids to raise theirs. Soon everyone had their hands raised. No one was talking but looking at me, all 600. This is how I start to speak. I will raise my hand; you do the same and look at me with no talking so we can begin. I trust and respect you, so I do not want to yell. Could you show the same to me by following this procedure? Hands down
This is when I also tell them about only having two rules. We will talk more about how to implement these at a different time.
“How many of you looked in the mirror today? Come on; it is middle school. I know you did! In our main hallway, you will find a mirror I placed there. I will place some particular messages around it each week, so when you look in the mirror, you can think about my message.”
The one for this week is:
“Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world.”Amir Ray
I was placed here to be your Principal. Many people from my hometown thought I had done something wrong. I asked why? They said because this was a horrible school. No way. It is not, and we will show you!
Now, please think about their perspective. People have a perspective that this school is not good. I am looking at you and know we can change that perspective. All we have to do is make a few adjustments in their minds to see through the mirror the greatness inside this school. It will take trust, connecting with our community, building relationships, and working on solutions. This will take time, effort, and hard work, but this will be the best school ever!
Active lessons in the halls
The mirror in the hallway costs $3.00 on clearance. It was one of those dorm room mirrors for doors. It worked out perfectly in our hallway, hanging horizontally. All students passed this intersection so they could all look in the mirror and receive my message. I am happy to help you with messaging if you have a specific area you want to address. It did help and was successful, along with a few other things we did. Our staff, students, families, and community worked hard to turn this school around to find success.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, what do you see? Students and staff working to achieve!
- “The mirror reflects what you want to see, but those who see you reflect on what they see.”-Brenda Yoho
- Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
- “Reflect what you want others to see and be.”-Brenda Yoho
- Mirrors don’t lie. They only show part of the truth.
- “What you see in others has more to do with you than them!”-Brenda Yoho
- “Your words are a mirror of your character; choose them carefully.”-Venkat Desireddy