Category Archives: Daniel Kerr

I Miss the Kids Like Crazy

So as we inch closer to our third month of distance learning, and continue to find creative ways to engage students from home each and every day, I have to admit something…I miss the kids like crazy. There is so much about this new normal that is challenging, and sustaining the emotional energy can be difficult at times for sure, but nothing compares to how hard it has been to be away from the kids for this long. 

When we initially closed the campus and went to distance learning I knew it would be really tough for the first couple of weeks until we found our routines, but then I thought that it would get better, and easier once we settled in…well, I was wrong. For me at least, the longer we meander through this experience, the harder it is getting, and honestly, it’s because the most joyful part of my job as an educator has been taken away. Those day to day, minute by minute, face to face interactions with children that feed my soul, and infuse my heart with joy, and keep my smile burning bright…those interactions are gone, and honestly, I don’t like it. I miss the kids like crazy. 

Do you know what else I miss these days…the noise of the school. I come in every day now to an almost empty building, and the silence has been deafening. The noise of a school in session, with kids bustling all around is the most beautiful sound that you’ll ever hear. That constant hum of laughing and learning, and failure and success, and teaching and determination and vulnerability and love…it’s so good. Before the campus closure, one of the best parts of my day was walking down a hallway and listening from outside the door to the sounds of kids engaged, or standing off in the corner of the playground during recess time and listening to the shouts and squeals of happiness, as kids play and make new friends and learn how to fit in…that noise is definitely music to my ears, and without a doubt, it’s the soundtrack to a beautiful and perfect day, and I miss it!

I miss the belly laughs that I used get every morning when I welcomed the kids to school, I miss being able to change my mood in an instant just by walking into a classroom and seeing the smiling faces, I miss the joyful enthusiasm that literally oozes out of kids when they see their friends or learn something new, I miss being able to change a child’s day for the better with a simple word of encouragement or a high five, and I absolutely miss the hugs. Children are the gifts that all educators have been given and not much compares to the beauty of a child engaged in school.

Honestly, I’ve been pretty good at finding and celebrating the silver linings that have come out of this distance learning experience, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the new learning and the new skills that I’ve acquired over the last ten or eleven weeks. In many ways this experience has made me more resilient, more adaptable and certainly more flexible…but…as much as I try to spin it, and as much as I try to turn this lemon into lemonade so to speak, there is simply no way around it, and I want to shout it out loud for all to hear…I miss the kids like crazy and I want them back! 

Anyway, we’re on the homestretch with only a few weeks to go, and of course we will absolutely get through this together. Keep being incredible for our community and hang in there…we’ll hopefully get the kids back soon. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

A child is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart. – Theresa Ann Hunt

Inspiring Videos – 

SGN Episode 8

Graduation Ceremonies

Lockdown Learning

So I was on a Zoom call with some old friends the other day, all of us in very different lines of work, and someone asked what was the most significant “new” learning that we have each experienced since the lockdown began. At the time we all answered flippantly and had a few laughs at each other’s expense, but after the call ended, I went away and thought about that question a little more critically. What I realised is that I have probably learned more personally and professionally over the past two months than I have at any point in recent memory, and as I look hard for silver linings that shine out of this lockdown experience, this absolutely has to be one of them.


Like most of us who do the same job for a few years in a row, we tend to get comfortable and confident with many aspects of the position, and ultimately feel like, “I got this”. Of course, we all get thrown once in awhile into a new experience or a new situation that expands our skillset, and helps us to grow and get better, and often times we even go seeking these experiences out on purpose, but when we get thrust into what we’ve all experienced lately, it’s a whole new ballgame. 


Recently, I haven’t gone a day without having to learn something completely new, and it feels like I’m constantly out of my comfort zone looking for ways to be successful in this new reality. I’m learning new technology platforms and skills at a staggering rate, I’m learning new and creative ways to engage my students, my community, and even my family at home, and I’m having to learn new ways to keep my balance and peace of mind and positive spirit in tact while I’m away from all that I am familiar with. I’m sure you all hear and can relate to what I’m saying, as I know this is the reality for all of us these days…it’s hard for sure, and can be deflating at times trying to keep up, but here’s the thing, I’m starting to embrace it. 


I’ve started to make a list of all the new skills that I’ve acquired since the campus closed and the lockdown began, as well as everything new that I’ve learned that has pushed me to do things differently, and when I stare down at the list it’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown as a person and as a professional. It’s empowering and energising and rewarding to see the level of resilience, and adaptability, and even confidence that has exploded out of this time in our lives, and for me at least, it has put a smile on my face. Like I said before, I’m constantly looking for a silver lining or two that will eventually come out of this difficult experience, and I think I have found an important one…we’re all growing and learning and succeeding in the face of adversity and uncertainty, and we will emerge at the end of this in many ways, better. 


Anyway, it’s a great question to ask yourselves this week, and it’s a wonderful exercise to go through. It’s even a wonderful question and exercise to pose to our students at some point, as you know that they’ve been seriously pushed out of their comfort zones as well, and their new learning has surely been profound. It’s been a tough time for families and schools and educators lately I know, and it’s about to get even more uncertain as we think about what reopening might look like in the not so distant future, so find a way to focus on the positives, and all the new lockdown learning that you’ve acquired…there is a silver lining in there somewhere I know. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” – African Proverb


Inspiring Videos –

The Great Realisation 

SGN Potluck

Lockdown Grievances 

The Opportunity of Adversity  (An all-time favourite)

Fox in Sox

Reaching Out

So just about a week ago I woke up to the news of the mass shooting in my home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. With each new tragic update and gutting confirmation that what had happened was actually real, my heart shrunk and my mind went numb. That first day was dark indeed, and my joyful spirit felt dislocated as I thought of all those so deeply affected and forever changed…I felt hopeless and a little stuck in place honestly, until I received a short text message from a faculty member and friend of mine, who reached out and simply thought about me, and in that moment, the darkness of the day got a just little bit lighter. It’s funny the power that a simple act of kindness can have, and how the small gesture of reaching out to someone can have such a huge impact. I needed that text message at that moment, and it kickstarted my journey from despair back to hope. 


I don’t know what the world is trying to tell us these days, and it’s hard to make sense of it all honestly. With the tension and isolation of the global lockdown growing, and a tragedy in the unlikeliest of places in the unlikeliest of times…it’s certainly been quite a week. I do know one thing however as I struggle to make sense of it all, we need each other during these days, and we need to reach out. 


I’ve been trying hard this week to reach out to as many people as I can…people in my life who need to know that someone is thinking about them, and there for them if they need support, and I’ve done this for two reasons. I want to be a light in someone’s life who may need a kind voice right about now, and I need to find some support and light for me as well. Reaching out to others not only helps them, it helps you too, and a kind voice or an unexpected connection has tremendous healing power. 


It’s been a difficult week trying to process it all, and like everyone who has been affected by this, I’ve gone through a range of emotions including sadness, anger, confusion, and ultimately…hope. My hope is that my hometown community, as well as our global community will find strength through these difficult times, and emerge stronger together. Just like that simple text message helped to snap my dislocated spirit back into place last week, reaching out to others will make a huge difference, and we’re all capable of being that sunshine for others. Reach out this week to the people that you love, and people who you haven’t spoken to in a while, and let them know that you are thinking about them. Send an email, make a phone call, set up a Zoom call, whatever…just make that connection. I guarantee it will change your day for the better, and it will certainly impact theirs as well.


Teachers, check in with each other this week and share some joy. Reach out to your students and their families too and check in on them, as we’re all struggling in one way or another in this new reality. To my Nova Scotia community, know that the world is wrapping its arms around you virtually and squeezing tight. Rally around each other and find strength in community, and support each other. We will eventually emerge through these difficult times, and when we do, we will be stronger together. Reach out everyone…it’s what we all need. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

We rise by lifting others – Robert Ingersoll


Inspiring Videos –

 Prom 2020 – SGN

Times Like These

For Nova Scotia

California Restaurant

Thank a Hero

Angel

A Virtual Hug

So just like thousands of schools around the world these days, we have been thrust into the reality of distance learning. We managed to successfully navigate through the first four days with our community just last week, and for the most part it went really well. We had plenty of success stories and celebrations, and of course a few glitches to work through, but all in all we transitioned nicely. We were super fortunate that we had some wonderful on-line platforms already in place, and as was the case with so many schools around the globe, we had our educator friends and colleagues in Asia to thank for blazing the trail and showing us the way. 

That said, I’m fully aware that it’s only been four days, and as we stare down the possibility of a long term campus closure we need to turn our attention to sustainability and community balance…it’s going to be tricky I know, but like the many schools who are already weeks ahead of us, we will eventually find our way. 

What I really want to talk about this week however, is how inspired I am to be a part of this amazing International School community, and how proud I am to be an educator as we lean on each other through this difficult and interesting time. We often talk to our students about the power and importance of sharing and collaborating and risk taking, and how true growth and success comes out of facing adversity and being resilient.  What I’ve seen over the past several weeks has cemented my belief that the world’s truest superheroes are educators, and I want to thank you all for your passion, creativity, generous spirit and your unwavering sense of joy and hope. 

I feel like the world is waking up to the incredible complexities of teaching, and how much hard work and effort it takes everyday to engage children in their learning…and that’s just on a regular day! In exceptional circumstances like these, where educators need to show such unbelievable adaptability, imagination, and flexibility, it drives home the point even more…educators are truly modern day heroes.  

Anyway, I just want to reach through this computer and give you all a virtual hug, and thank you for all that you are doing for our children, our families and our world. Keep sharing, keep collaborating and keep leading the way as we all struggle through this global situation together. There are of course many silver linings to this experience, and if we continue to lead with our hearts we will come out the other end all the better for it as an educational world. Have a wonderful on-line week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.

  • H.E. Luccock

Inspiring Videos – 

On-Line Courses for Kids

Inspiring Millions

Brothers in Humanity

TED Talk – Adversity

Distance Learning (Funny…Be Thoughtful)

Splashes of Yellow

So sometimes the road leading out of winter and into spring can be long, and in countries like France, it means clouds and rain and a constant chill in the air. You can find yourself longing for a burst of sunshine and if you’re not careful it can start to negatively affect your energy and mindset. Last week I even found myself having to dig a little deeper to keep my energy up and my smile bright, which is very unusual for me, until out of nowhere something super small happened that gave me the boost that I needed. 

I was coming home from walking the dog early one morning, just as the light was beginning to spread across the day, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a beautiful splash of yellow. The first gorgeous tulip of the season had magically appeared in my yard and I instantly felt this boost of joy and inspiration. It was exactly what I needed at the time and honestly, it reminded me of schools in a funny way, and the day to day lives that seem to string together in a blur during these long stretches at work. It re-connected me to the importance of little celebrations…the intentional and purposeful celebration of little wins along the way with our kids and with each other…those little splashes of yellow that come out of nowhere and scream out to be recognized. 

Oftentimes in schools, and in life, we can go way, way too long without stopping to recognize and celebrate the incredible work that we all do, and the amazing daily accomplishments that happen in the learning lives of our students. I spent that tulip flower day last week reflecting on the journey that we’ve been on as a collective team, and really, it’s staggering to think of how far we’ve come over the past two and a half years. We are in the midst of so many wonderful changes as a division and as a school and we can’t forget to regularly celebrate. I think in many ways we do a nice job as educators with our weekly celebration google doc, and our fun March Gladness initiative, and with our celebratory faculty meetings that we have from time to time, but I’m wondering if I (we) can do a little bit more celebrating with our kids. 

This literal “march” into Spring is hard for many of us as adults and I know it can be hard for our students as well. My challenge to all of us this week is to intentionally celebrate our kids for their effort, their success, their positive attitude and for their youthful joy…they are all throwing out little splashes of yellow all over the place, each and every day, and a compliment and a simple public recognition will be that burst of sunshine that they need…it will make us feel warm and sunny too! Okay, I’ll commit to continue to find ways to celebrate our many successes as a team, and I’m going to celebrate as many kids as I can this week…join me for the fun and let’s all be their makeshift sunshine, and the little splashes of yellow for all of them until the actual sun decides to make an appearance. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

Celebration comes when the common features of life are redeemed

  • Richard J. Foster

Inspiring Videos- 

Home for Senior Dogs

Friendship Saves

How NOT to Raise Your Children

TED Talk – Fear Setting

TED Talk – Giving as a Source of Pleasure

Related Articles – 

Celebrating Our Students

Celebrating Accomplishments 

Small Wins at Work

Achieve Big Goals

What to Read in 2020

So it’s that time again and I’m super excited…new books for a new year! I just finished my final couple of books from 2019 over the February break, and I’ve spent the last week or so compiling my list for 2020…I’ve looked at book reviews and online articles, I’ve combed through book stores, and I’ve asked around for recommendations from friends and colleagues from all around the world, and I now have a preliminary list of 15 books that I’m eager to read…see below.

As usual, I’m encouraging you all to take a few minutes this week to look through these titles, and to order one (or five) that resonate with you…or, do your own research and share those titles with me so I can add them to this list. The suggestions below revolve around the themes of education, leadership, creativity, innovation and culture building, with an overarching focus on becoming a better person and educator for our world. Anyway, happy reading in 2020…a good book can be transformative in so many ways, so please make the time, I promise you it will be time well spent. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week…

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body – Joseph Addison

Recommendations –

Malcolm Gladwell – Talking to Strangers

Buckingham-Goodall – Nine Lies About Work

Max Yoder- Do Better Work

Lydia Denworth – Friendship

Dan Heath – Upstream

Daniel Levitin – The Changing Mind

Paul Tough – The Years That Matter Most

Kim Marshall – The Best of the Marshall Memo

Jessica Carson – Wired this Way

Simon Sinek – The Infinite Game

Rob Walker – The Art of Noticing

Medcalf-Mattison – The Future of Leadership

Sugata Mitra – The School in the Cloud

Jim Davies – Imagination

Karen Catlin – Better Allies

Turning Conversation Into Action

So I just returned home from the AAIE 2020 conference and frankly, I’m inspired. Actually, more than inspiration I’m feeling empowered and profoundly called to action as a result of the conversations that we all engaged in throughout the three days in New York. The themes that we deeply dove into revolved around diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice, and the question that was posed was, how do we go after these issues purposely in schools…or do we at all? Great debates, provocative conversations and thoughtful questions related to how we tackle these themes in education, and the level of responsibility that we all have as leaders and educators to do so. My head is still spinning honestly, with the possibilities and opportunities that we have to change the narrative around what’s really important and imperative in today’s world…it’s time to turn these conversations into action and I’m excited to get going.


Not only did I enjoy the daily breakout sessions, I was also inspired by the keynote speakers and their messages related to shared humanity and joyful leadership, two things that I am personally passionate about. Dacher Keltner from the Greater Good Science Center, and Firoozeh Dumas, a New York Times best selling author called us all to action and implored us all to lead with our hearts, and to go after the conference themes with purpose and with a sense of urgency and responsibility…so good. I was fortunate enough to be a part of two panel discussions to do with inclusion, and how leaders can turn conversation into action, and I made a personal commitment to take a more proactive role in leading out some of these initiatives with our young people. I also challenged the other leaders at the conference to do the same, and to work with each other and hold each other accountable for bringing this change to life through our work with our students and communities. 


Thinking about accountability, I’ve been wondering about which systems and structures that schools and organizations can target to initiate these changes. Strategic planning, curriculum design, mission statement re-writes, hiring practices, and even professional development are good places to start, and I’m also wondering about the accreditation process. Thinking about the amazing and transformative work that CIS has done regarding child protection and safeguarding over the past several years, where it is now an expectation and requirement to have specific policies and procedures in place in order to be re-accredited, I’m thinking that we could leverage accrediting organizations to help hold international schools accountable around the themes of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. I’m not sure exactly what that would look like but once again, it’s time to turn these conversations into action. 


Anyway, I have to say that not only did I return home feeling inspired because of the conference conversations, but I also felt proud and validated that the work that we are doing at ASP is strongly connected to all of this. Actually, in many ways we are helping to lead the way and it feels great. We are doing meaningful and purposeful and transformative work through our strategic planning and this conference just pushed me to do even more to support our journey. I’ll leave you with a final quote that has stuck with me since I returned from Cornel West, who said that, “Justice is what love looks like in public”. Honestly, isn’t that what the world needs a bit more of these days…love. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.-Gail Sheehy


Inspiring Videos –

 College Tuition

Part 2 – Responsibility

All That We Share

Climate Change Rap

Social Justice in Schools


Related Articles –

What is Social Justice?

Curriculum Design

Diversity in Schools

What is Equity in Education?

Together We Learn Better

Every Day is a Lesson

So I turned 50 years old this past week and honestly, it feels pretty good. I was fabulously spoiled by my family and my friends, and by my students and colleagues, and it was such a great day that I think I’ll find a way to turn 50 again next year as well 🙂 The thing about milestone birthdays however, as much as they are great in so many ways, is that they do make you pause and reflect on your life up to that point. They make you take stock of your current reality, and think about the journey that has led you up to that day…the triumphs and joys and successes, the stumbles and mistakes that you’ve made along the way, and most importantly for me anyway, the lessons that you’ve learned that have shaped who you are. 

Looking back, it’s funny to see how many lessons I had to learn the hard way, and over and over again until they finally sunk in, and how fortunate I am to have arrived at this half century mark to the life that I currently lead. Like most of us, I’ve pulled off some Houdini-like escape acts that could and should have derailed my life, but somehow it has managed to work out. It’s been fun over the past week to think back and reflect, and to get a little nostalgic, but the biggest take away for me throughout that reflective exercise is the realization that regardless of how old you are, every new gift of a day that you are graciously given is indeed a lesson. Everyday is an opportunity to learn, and to do better, and to find a way to bring joy to someone else’s life. 

These daily lessons are often times not ones that you’re learning for the very first time, especially if you’ve lived for more than a few decades, but the ones that just cement some universal truths that help you become a better person for yourself and for others. This past week, for example, I was reminded of a couple of life lessons that have reconnected me back to what’s truly important in life…in my view anyway. I re-learned from a child last week that something as simple as a kind word and a small celebration can change their lives forever. I re-learned from from a colleague that a smile can change someone’s day for the better, and is often just what someone is needing at a particular moment. I learned again from my beautiful wife that you absolutely get back the energy that you give out to the world. I re-learned from my daughter that beauty is everywhere in the world, all around us all the time in the simple little things that we often take for granted. I learned from my brother that age is really just a number, and it’s what’s inside your mind and your heart that really, truly matters, and finally I learned again from a good friend of mine, who had a parent and hero pass away earlier in the week, that none of us are ever promised tomorrow, so live your life today. 

An important lesson for all of us, regardless of how old you are, is the ability to recognize that life is made up of a string of single, individual days…little gifts of time that are presented to you to learn from, and grow from, and to embrace. It’s never too early to pass this sentiment on to our students, and even though they will need to go through their own journey, and make their mistakes over and over again until they finally sink in, we can still use our wisdom to give them some help along the way. At the very least, we can try our best to get them to see that every day is indeed a lesson, and an opportunity to become a better student, person, friend, and a better human being for our world if they only just embrace the here and now. 

Anyway, turning 50 has been wonderful, and thank you to everyone for making it so special. I’m excited to continue learning and growing and doing better, and here’s to the next 50…bring it on! Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.  

Quote of the Week…

The fastest way of learning is little by little and day by day – Lewis Carroll

Inspiring Videos – 

Michigan Marching Band

Son’s Graduation

Rethinking Challenging Kids

Who’s Coming for Dinner?

Soul Pancake

Related Articles – 

Daily Lessons

Self Reflection

Powerful Life Lessons

Free Time TED Talk

Something in the Air

So here we are at the very beginning of a brand new year, and even more exciting than that for me, the start of a brand new decade. I’m a little bit more inspired than usual honestly because there seems to be something in the air, a significant shift or tipping point that has finally begun to take hold in the world of education. It’s not necessarily new this paradigm shift, but certainly more widespread and ubiquitous these days I feel, and it’s resonating profoundly everywhere I look…in schools and conversations, and in research articles and conference themes across the globe. 

I’m talking about a shift in what gets top billing and top priority when we look to prepare our children for the future of our world…a shift to an approach to teaching and learning that is delivered through a different lens, or under a different umbrella, which better emphasizes the skills that our children really need to go out into the world having mastered. The essential teachings that our world desperately craves right now. Themes like kindness, empathy, diversity, inclusion, environmental stewardship, creativity, and resilience…and a formative education and taught curriculum that is truly a little closer to the heart.

This year, when I ask my own kids each morning what their school schedule looks like for the day, the conversation goes something like this. Hey Gabby and Max (my 6th and 9th graders), what classes do you have today?. I hear back things like Math and Science and Social Studies and English and French, with some cool electives thrown in there as well, which are typically the classes that they tend to get really excited about. We’re so used to this structure of school, and this traditional approach to how we prepare our kids for the world when they graduate. You know how I’d really love that morning conversation to go? Something like this…Hey, what do you guys have in school today? Gabby will say, Oh, my first block is empathy, and then I have creativity, inclusion and diversity. What about you Max? Well Dad, I have environmental stewardship, kindness, and this afternoon I have a double block of resilience, which is a really tough class but it’s helping me become a better learner. Great, I’d say, see you at school and I can’t wait to hear all about it at dinner tonight. 

It’s not that we have to give up teaching the important math and science concepts, or go away from languages and literacy, it’s just reframing and delivering the classes through a new lens. Teaching science and math with a focus on the environment and service learning for example, and teaching literacy skills through a lens of kindness and empathy, and even social studies through a lens of diversity. Of course we will need to change what we call the classes because language truly has power, and it would signify a purposeful shift in curriculum thinking, writing and delivery. Anyway, without going on too long I think you get what I’m saying, and honestly, these essential shifts are already happening in leading international and independent schools around the world, like ours, through strategic planning and curriculum review and implementation, and through non traditional course offerings and student opportunities that are more aligned to these essential needs, themes and skills. 

Take a look at the upcoming AAIE conference for example, and see the themes that are being championed…panel discussions and conversations around cultures of dignity and inclusion and what’s really paramount for the future of education. Things like positive social change and health and well being and diversity and resiliency. These ideas and this narrative is being championed everywhere you look and to me it feels good. It feels like it’s finally time, which is why this year, and this decade feels different. There is something in the air and it smells sweet and it feels like real, transformative change is happening…it feels like the future of education is upon us. I’d like to end with some song lyrics taken from one of my favorite songs, “Closer to the Heart” by a Canadain band called, RUSH. These lyrics seem appropriate to this change in the air that I’m feeling, and even more poignant considering the Band’s drummer and lyricist, one of the greatest of all-time, Neil Peart passed away just the other day. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. Happy 2020 everyone…it’s going to be a great year!

Closer to the Heart – Rush

And the men who hold high places

Must be the ones who start

To mold a new reality

Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist

Reflect it in their art

They forge their creativity

Closer to the heart

Yes, closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen

Each must know his part

To sow a new mentality

Closer to the heart

Yes, closer to the heart

You can be the captain

And I will draw the chart

Sailing into destiny

Closer to the heart


Inspiring Videos – 

On the Road – A Year in Review

A Surprise Thank You

Related Articles – 

Social-Emotional Learning

8 Critical Skills

Essential for Students

Getting Smart

Important Skills

10 Feet Tall and Bulletproof

So this week I had several students sent to my office to be celebrated. It is literally my favorite part of the day when a student arrives at my door, with a teacher by their side, holding a book or a piece of writing or simply just standing there empty handed excited to share something special with me..I absolutely love it! There was one student in particular though, this past Wednesday, who had me choking back the tears. He walked in a little nervous and very excited, holding a large print chapter book, and he was super eager to read it to me…and he did so beautifully.

You see, this 4th grade boy came to ASP at the beginning of the year not knowing a single word of English, and there he was only three months later ready to read out loud to his principal…in English! I sat there and listened, and watched him grow in confidence with each spoken word, and the look of pride on his face made my heart want to burst. After the celebration, as he was walking back to class, it hit me that this particular moment, that was orchestrated by two incredible teachers (thank you Sherri and Gabby), will stay with that boy for the rest of his life. That feeling of success, and that sense of pride that he felt in that moment changed him, and absolutely strengthened his relationship with school and learning. I managed to catch up to him later on in the day, after I had composed myself, and I asked him how he felt. He told me that he felt like a reading superhero, and as he walked away smiling I swear he felt 10 feet tall and bulletproof. 

I was reminded once again through that magical experience that it doesn’t take much to change a kid’s relationship with learning. Little successes, some small wins, and a few well thought out celebrations can make all the difference. An encouraging word here, a high-five there, a note or a phone call home at some point throughout the week, and of course a trip to the principal’s office will go a long, long way in strengthening a child’s relationship with school and learning…for us, it doesn’t take much time to do but the effect on the student will last a lifetime! We are all so busy at school doing what we do, and if we aren’t careful then days can go by without us purposely finding ways to set up, or call out moments of success with each one of our kids. A child’s relationship with learning is at the heart of it all, and the foundation of a student’s educational experience. There is nothing more important for us as educators than to go after that relationship specifically, and to help build that foundation. 

I’m challenging you all this week, with less than two weeks to go before the holiday, to celebrate as many kids as you can, and to go out of your way to strengthen all of your students’ relationships with learning…purposely make them feel like learning superheroes, and watch their eyes light up, their chests swell, and the smiles start to spread across their faces. Make them feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof, if even just for a moment. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week…

Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety

-Rose Kennedy

Beautiful Holiday Videos –

Hafod Hardware

Secret Santa

Dragon Fire

Make Someone’s Holiday

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