New Beginnings

So we’re already three weeks deep into 2013……..another year and another clean slate. There’s something incredibly hopeful about the start of a new calendar year in my opinion, and the fact that it comes right in the middle of our school year makes it even better. We have a chance to not only deeply reflect on the past several months with our students, but to also look forward to the promise and opportunity of the months that lie ahead. January is the perfect time to look at how we can become “better”……better educators….better friends……better mothers and fathers…..better colleagues…….and better people. It’s a perfect time to reflect on, and examine all that went right and wrong with the choices and decisions that we made, and to honestly evaluate the efforts (or lack thereof) that we made to grow, and change, and develop in all aspects of our lives. A new year is a new beginning, and like with all new beginnings, everything and anything is seemingly possible.

Two years ago at this time I wrote all about the importance of reflection, and the necessary step of looking back in order to successfully move forward. I still very much believe in the importance of self reflection, and I hope that you all had the chance over the break to go through this process……but seeing as though we’re almost a month into semester two, today I want to nudge you in the other direction. Today I want to encourage you all to emphatically look forward, and to start thinking of ways that you can become better in 2013. Maybe it’s a new teaching strategy that you’ve been meaning to try, or a new course or degree that you’ve been wanting to take, or maybe it’s those books that you’ve been desperate to read, or those ideas that you’ve been thinking of sharing…….whatever it is, start doing!  Make 2013 your year of action, and your year of tremendous personal and professional growth. Regardless of whether you’ve been teaching for three years or thirty, there’s no reason why this can’t be your best year to date. Isn’t that the whole idea of being life long learners? To continually push yourself to get better, and to learn, and to take risks, and to make mistakes? Well, what’s stopping you…..it’s time to stop reflecting and to start accomplishing. I’ll be meeting with many of you over the next few weeks for our mid year check-in, and I’ll be asking what your commitments are to getting better…..and I’ll be sharing my commitments with you.

I want to wish you all a wonderful year, and a “better” second half………I wish you all a year filled with mistakes made, risks taken, lessons learned, and most importantly, progress. I’m hoping that you all look at making 2013 the best year of your personal and professional lives, and I truly hope that you find the courage and determination to stick to those resolutions, or promises that you’ve made to yourself over the past few weeks. I just happened to turn 43 today, so new beginnings are very much on my mind. I’m arguably coming off the best year of my life and I’m excited about what’s to come. Like my daughter Gabby said this morning, “Daddy, you’re lucky to be getting older because that means you’re getting smarter!”…….one thing I do know is that I’ll certainly keep trying to make those wise words become a reality, and I hope you all do the same. I’m off recruiting next week so hold down the fort for our kids while I’m away. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be “better” for our students and “better” for each other.

Quote of the Week…….
The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the life too closely examined may not be lived at all
– Mark Twain

Attachment – Excerpt from Hal Urban’s book, Lessons from the Classroom: 20 things Good Teachers Do Lesson #1

TED TALKS to inspire you in 2013
http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
http://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_brencher_love_letters_to_strangers.html

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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