So here we are finally, with the end of the year at our fingertips, and the final week ready to begin. I think it’s an understatement to say that we’re all ready to take a break and to head off for the summer…you’ve all given so much to our students and to each other over the past ten months, and I couldn’t be more proud of what you’ve accomplished this year for our community. With the holiday in plain sight, I want to talk briefly about taking some time over the next couple of months to reflect, and to think about the ways that you can become even better…a better educator…a better colleague…a better person. In my opinion, the act of reflection is the most important part of learning and growing, and the summer break is the perfect time to do this. Whether it’s a personal or professional reflection, the power of looking back is paramount. Thinking about your actions, your beliefs, your attitudes toward others, your reaction to things that may not have gone your way, or even the way you see yourself, your worth, and your value to others and the world……….this is remarkably profound. Without reflection, the opportunity to discover or to re-discover yourself and your potential is lost. Taking the time to think about how you learn, how you teach, your relationships with students and colleagues, and how you can give every aspect of your life more meaning is a necessary step before you can become…better.
As you’re sitting on the deck of your cottage, or swimming in the lake, or playing a leisurely round of golf, or even engaging in some summer professional development, I’m asking that you think about the ways that you can emerge from your well-deserved holiday a better version of yourself. What are the areas of your life, and your teaching that need a bit of a push…are there ways that you can enhance your lesson planning and delivery…are there ways that you can build stronger relationships with your students, particularly the ones that you find the most difficult to engage…are there ways that you can become a better teacher leader…are there ways that you can push yourself out of your comfort zone and take more risks…are there ways that you can become a better teammate and colleague…and are there ways that you can become more innovative in your approach to instruction? My bet is that the answer is yes to most if not all of these questions, and the challenge that I’m giving to you is to not just think about them, but to act on them, and come back in August armed with concrete ways to make next year the best year of your professional life.
There are many educators out there that get so comfortable and complacent in their job that they end up delivering the same year over and over again, and the only thing that changes are the beautiful and eager faces in front of them…don’t be that educator. Think about specific ways that you can improve upon this year, and to never deliver the same year twice…keep the best aspects of your teaching, and stretch yourself to improve on the areas that might need some attention. Everyone has room to grow, and everyone has the opportunity to reflect, to plan, to act, and to become better. I’ve already identified a few things that I need to work on to become a better leader, and I’m excited to think critically about these over the next several weeks in order to make next year my best one to date. I want to thank you all for a truly outstanding year, and for making my first year at Academia Cotopaxi so special. We have set out together on a transformational journey, and in many ways we couldn’t have had a stronger year. I can’t tell you how excited I am to come back re-energized, and ready to continue the journey as a team…a team that learns from each other, trusts each other, and a team that is constantly looking for ways to become…better! Enjoy the resources below, and the Carl Sandburg poem, which makes me desperate to get on that plane next week. Have a fantastic final few days everyone and remember to be great for our students and better for each other.
Summer Stars – Poem by Carl Sandburg
Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars, So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.
Quote of the Week….
There’s a way to do it better – find it – Thomas A. Edison
Dan Kerr – @DanKerr1 (twitter)…find me over the summer
Summer Articles and Resources –
Wonderful TED Talks for a Summer afternoon –