Here is my list:
1) My family: I am thankful that my family supported me going back and getting my teaching credential. I had to rely on others, as I went back to school 3 weeks after my son, Trevor, was born. We had a family tragedy a few weeks later, and family rallied around to make sure that he and I were taken care of. They were also there to support me as I decided to go back to grad school. This took me away from my family for a bit and I appreciate that my kids understood and supported me.
2) My colleagues: I spent most of my teaching career, listening and observing others. As I have written before, I was very quiet most of my teaching years. I learned tremendous amounts from those that I work with. From watching them interact with their students, I shaped my relationships with kids. I decided what to do and what not to do. Through conversations about education and daily instructional practice, I formed my own ideas and beliefs. I was lucky enough to have an amazing teacher come into my room and work with my students, many years ago. Watching how she questioned and led my students through inquiry, completely transformed me as a teacher! I think of her everyday, as I try to now support teachers in that same role.
3) My "bosses": I think I am unique in that I only worked for two principals in the span of a 14 year teaching career. I'm not going to say that those 14 years were all a bed of roses, in fact, as I have written before, the first 12 were rough. But now, as I talk to others and present on best instructional practices and education...I realized that I learned all I know, in those first 12 years! Here is what I learned...
Meet people where they are.
Every student, every time.
Good teaching is good teaching- it transcends all else.
Find a way to make it happen, if you believe it is what's best for kids.
In my current position, I have tried to be a sponge and soak up every experience as a learning one. Here is what I have learned in my current position:
Trust, communication and relationships are the foundation.
Be you, be authentic.
Always do what's best for students.
Tune out the chatter.
Follow your instincts.
Go slow, to move fast.
Stay the course.
Walk the talk.
Roll up your sleeves and do the work, whatever is needed.
Stay true to your word, follow through on what you promise.
4) My experiences: We are all shaped by our experiences, it is what we choose to do with those experiences that make the difference. We can choose to either repeat or change those stories for others. I choose to help create a new narrative. Through my experiences, I have learned how much people need to feel valued and appreciated. We are all doing the best we can, at the time, with what we have...and often times, we feel it isn't enough. So I have made a conscious effort to always...always let people know that they are important and valued. I try my best to show appreciation and let them know about all the good that they are doing. This is completely authentic and sincere, and I hope that is how it comes across. I have also learned how important it is to support and help others grow. I try to find that "thing" in everyone and foster and grow that.
5) My "people": I have found myself saying "my people" a lot lately and I hope no one takes it as an insult. In saying this, I just mean that these are the people that I feel are my "tribe". The people that I work with, I interact with, I collaborate with and I grow with. It is so important to have others in your corner and I hope that I am able to be that for "my people" as they have been for me. We encourage each other, are sounding boards for each other, we lift each other up and we grow together. We need others to help propel us forward, I believe we are all better together!
It is hard in the hustle and bustle and "drama" of life, to always see those bright spots. I know I struggle with it, that is why I talk about it so much. I try to convince myself. But I think it is important to do it. Please try your best to not let negativity or glitches or bumps, detour you from your good. From your path. From your purpose. Try to find the learning in every experience, those experiences are there as your teacher. Take time to reflect on those bright spots...they are always there. We need them.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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