All posts by 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. 

Presuming Positive Intent

So recently as a school we have been digging deep into two wonderful professional development opportunities…Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching. Learning about ways that we can better interact and collaborate with each other, both individually and in teams, is a huge opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships, and to build trust and vulnerability, which will ultimately bring us closer together as a community. I have been through this training before at a previous school and it was transformative then, so going through it again here at ASP is super exciting to say the least. 

Anyway, as I have reflected on the sessions thus far, and as I re-familiarize myself with the 7 norms of collaboration, I can’t help but feel that for me, the norm of presuming positive intent is truly the foundation of any successful human interaction. It’s a skill that will absolutely change your life for the better when developed and used consistently in conversations, meetings, and all other interactions that you have with others throughout the run of a day…truly. Like all skills however, it takes practice and discipline to get good at it, and to be honest, it’s much harder than you might think. 

The thing about presuming or assuming positive intent, which is the belief that people are in their heart always meaning well and doing their best, is that it gets you to think of others first, and not yourself, and this a muscle that needs strengthening over and over and over. I have often found myself in difficult meetings or contentious situations over the years where I feel myself getting defensive very quickly, and starting to take a person’s words or actions personally. I’m sure that this happens to all of us, maybe more often than we’d like to admit but here’s the thing…if you enter into a meeting with an open heart and an open mind, searching for the root of the issue and taking yourself out of the equation for a minute, you’ll find that people almost all of the time want a good result, and in many instances, they want the same result as you. 

When you presume positive intent you open up yourself to the notion that conflict usually comes from a place of fear, or insecurity, or a lack of trust, and with this in your mind you are better able to hear people, see people, and take the personal off the table so to speak. The other thing about presuming positive intent is that it allows you to enter into situations with a sense of caring, compassion, and with a willingness to forgive. Listen, people make mistakes all of the time, I know that I certainly do, but believing that these mistakes come from a place of well meaning changes the conversation and outcome, and it ultimately strengthens relationships.

In my life and in my job, like I am sure is true for you as well, I have difficult conversations all of the time, but I’ve become better at approaching them over the years. In fact, by developing the skill of presuming positive intent, and practicing this before I enter into a conversation, I have actually started to feel very comfortable with these experiences. I don’t always get it right of course, and being human I still get defensive once in a while, but having developed the skill of presuming positive intent through years of practice, I have positively changed my life. I have also learned to listen more intently, see people more clearly, and get to the root of an issue much more quickly.

Like I said, as educators and as human beings, we almost all of the time come to a space meaning well and wanting to do our best. We want people to know this about us, and we should commit to knowing this about others too. Once this happens we will all be better for each other and for our world, and honestly, our school and community will become a stronger, safer, and happier place. With all that said, my challenge for all of us this week, and in the weeks to come, is to practice this skill intentionally. Remind yourself when you enter into conversations, meetings, and interactions with others that everyone is meaning well and doing their best. Practice this skill of presuming positive intent and watch your life, and the lives of others start to change for the better…it has been working for me and I know it will work for you. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe

-Neale Donald Walsh

Related Articles – 

The Collaborative Way

Assuming Positive Intent 

Edutopia 

Relationship Superpower

An HR Playbook

Making the Right Assumptions

Adaptive School Toolkit

Inspiring Videos – 

Invest in Kindness

School Bus Driver

Casting the Light of Kindness

Mel Robbins – Assuming Positive Intent

Improve Positive Thinking – Alison Ledgerwood

10 Things That Made Us Smile This Week

Knowing Your Community

So an interesting thing happened to me at the end of last year, which really opened up my eyes to how critical it is to spend the time getting to know your community…deeply. Not just the students and parents and faculty, but everyone who works so hard to ensure that our kids have their best possible experience each and every day. 

You see, we had a fantastic science unit planned for our kids around the importance of honey bees in our natural world, and one of the ideas was to bring in a beekeeper to talk to the students about honeymaking and pollination and all of the other incredible facts about our little black and yellow friends. So we went out and found a couple of local bee advocates who spent a few days enthralling our students and leaving them wanting more…especially more of the yummy honey samples.

Anyway, It just so happened that later that evening one of our experienced maintenance workers, who I thought I knew pretty well, stopped me and let me know that next time, he would be more than happy to speak to the students, as he is actually a certified beekeeper and this is his absolute life’s passion! Well, at that moment I felt terrible, and rightly so, because I had missed the perfect opportunity to connect our students with one of our community members, who, like all of us, has so much more to offer than simply the jobs that we are employed to do.  

I started to reflect on the opportunities that pass us by each and every day that might leverage the expertise and knowledge and inspiration that is right at our fingertips…literally. I missed this chance because I didn’t know this man as well as I could have, or should have, and this experience absolutely woke me up to some necessary work that I have to do…that we all have to do perhaps. This incidentally, connects very nicely to our school-wide initiative around belonging, where we are making a huge effort to ensure that all community members are seen, heard, valued, and purposely engaged.

Since that experience at the end of last year, I have done a much better job of getting to know the people in our building, who I thought I knew already but really didn’t, and I have found out so much! We now have members of our maintenance and facilities team going out on field trips with our kids and sharing their local expertise, we have members of our cafeteria team speaking to our kids about healthy eating and composting and food waste, and we have many of our cleaning and security staff helping out with our daily lunch and recess duties so they can get to know our students even better…and vice versa! 

By developing these relationships across our community, and by taking the time to get to know everyone inside and outside of our building, we will only become a stronger school. A school where everyone truly feels a sense of belonging, and where we uncover as many opportunities and possibilities as we can to not only enhance student learning, but to strengthen our relationships with each other as well.  So my question for you to ponder this week is…how well do you know the people in the building? If the answer is, not well enough, then go out of your way to change that around. We are stronger together as you know, and we are all here to support our kids…so reach out and take the first step, you might just be surprised by what you find out…I sure was, but never again. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much

-Helen Keller

Related Articles – 

The Power of Being Seen

Strength Based Community 

School Culture 

Community in Your Classroom

Leveraging Support

Inspiring Videos-

Field of Dreams

Every Opportunity

Relationships in Schools

Peace Train 

My Community – Bus Driver

Surprise Assembly

100 Jokes in 100 Days

To Be A Kid

So I have been spending a lot of time this week trying to get to know the names of our new students, which incidentally might just be the most critical aspect of my job as we begin the new school year. I have been eating lunch with them and hanging out with them at recess, and tracking kids down on the playground before school, and you know what, it’s given me plenty of time to reconnect with an undeniable and absolute truth, which is…kids are awesome! 

In my opinion, It is next to impossible to interact with a bunch of kids and not have your heart be filled with joy and love and hope. The other cool consequence is that you can’t help but to be transported back to when you were once a kid yourself, as you start to feel that sense of wonder, imagination, creativity, and playfulness that we all sometimes struggle to connect with as adults. 

This past week I’ve been playing tag, and playing school, and telling jokes. I’ve been in the mud kitchen and on the swings and on the slide, and I’ve been making up imaginary communities on the moon…so fun! I even had a chance to jump in a shallow puddle outside the early childhood area much to the delight of the little ones, as well as to the delight of my own inner child. It’s been one of the best weeks that I’ve had in quite some time, certainly since the pandemic began, and the takeaway for me is that obviously my inner kid has been bursting to come out, and I bet yours has been too.

We are so fortunate as educators to have the opportunity to be around young people each and everyday, and I know that collectively we are much better than most at letting our inner kid flags fly, but over the past 18 months or so it’s been very easy to be in constant adult mode as we all deal with the world as it is. Spending this past week purposely engaging with kids at play, and finding a way to become a part of their world, has been refreshing and in many ways therapeutic. Honestly, I actually think that I needed this past week as I jumped and sang and splashed around, and with how I’m feeling now, I’m going to keep it up next week too! 

Anyway, I highly recommend finding some time over the next couple of weeks to head down to the mud kitchen, or to take part in an Art lesson, or to even take a swing on the swings with kids daring you to go higher and higher. We all need to reignite that beautiful little kid spirit that is still deep down inside, and to reconnect with the beauty and joy of children…we have so much to learn from their approach to life, and from their ability to find inspiration in life’s simplest and smallest of pleasures. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to learn from children for a living…don’t take it for granted. So, get out there and play! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week….

The most sophisticated people I have ever known had just one thing in common: they were all in touch with their inner child – Jim Hensen

Related Articles – 

Be a Kid Again Day!

Finding Your Inner Child

Live Like a Kid Again

Why You Should

Doing Childish Things More Often

TED Talks – 

Talks for Your Inner Child

Take The Time To Play

Inspiring Videos – 

Clean Slate

TheThank You Letter

Best Friends

Another Pep Talk

The Notion of a Growth Heartset

So last week at our new family orientation event, I ran into a joyfully bright eyed and eager second grade girl who could not have been more excited about starting her new school life at ASP. She was mostly excited about the idea of making new friends, and she went on to tell me at length all about her foolproof strategy, which made me tear up and burst out laughing all at the same time. She said, “making friends is easy for me because I just show them my heart, and that’s all you need to do!” 

Of course I thanked her for sharing that, and mentioned that I was absolutely sure that her strategy would indeed work well for her this year. Sure enough, on the first day of school this week I saw her buzzing around the playground spreading joy and love and positive energy everywhere she went, with kids completely and helplessly drawn to her and following along, as she left rainbows and sunbeams all around them in her wake. 

That interaction with my new student inspiration got me thinking about the notion of a growth “heartset”…which is ultimately a kindness of the heart approach to life and school. This approach is something that we could all use a little more of these days as we begin another school year. I found a wonderful definition of heartset in one of the articles that I’ve included below, and it defines it as, “an energy field of self-awareness, non-judgment (acceptance), peace, caring, positivity, giving, forgiving, and compassion that allows us to more freely and proactively be a force for good. A growth heartset creates an emotional environment in which we and the young people we teach can flourish in spite of the uncertainties and challenges that are so prevalent today.” 

Well, this notion aligns perfectly with the commitments that we have made as a faculty and as a school over the past few years, and in my opinion, having a growth heartset is what quality teaching and great schools are all about. I know we’ve done incredible work with our kids over the past several years around the importance of having a growth mindset, which is a frame of mind, and now I think it’s time to extend that work to include this important notion of a growth heartset, which is a frame of the heart, and to start using the term heartset with our community.

It really is a fantastic word to use with our kids, as it encompasses so much of what we are trying to do in our approach to teaching, learning, and school. Having a growth heartset ties in so nicely with our motto of, “You Are the Weather”, and even though the culture and climate of our lower school is super solid, there is always more that we can do to enhance our daily interactions with our kids and with each other. So, my challenge to you as we begin a new year, a year that is full of promise and possibility, is to be even more like our new ray of sunshine in second grade and simply… show them your heart…that’s all you have to do! It really is a foolproof strategy. Have a wonderful week ahead everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

When you lead with your heart, love and connection will follow

-Unknown

Related Articles – 

Transforming Teaching and Learning

Lead With your Heart

The Heart of Teaching

A Mindshift for Teachers

Starting the Year Off With Joy

Community Building Ideas

Inspiring Videos – 

Hokey Pokey

No Plans To Retire

Made Us Smile This Week

Opening Doors 

Find Your Voice

Heroes Down the Home Stretch

So here we are, finally staring down the last few weeks of school, and as I think back over the last ten months or so, the only thought that I can come up with is, wow, that was quite a year. I guess what I really want to share this week with all of you is a heartfelt thank you, and a joyous congratulations, for your Herculean and heroic efforts throughout arguably the most difficult year of our professional lives. It really has been a year like we’ve never seen before, and a year that we never could have imagined, and yet together we somehow found a way to navigate through it successfully, and keep our students happy, engaged, and learning…a Herculean and heroic effort indeed. 

The last ten months have certainly taken their toll on all of us that’s for sure, as our levels of anxiety have been constantly on high since day one. We never knew when a covid cluster would hit, or if one of us would get sick, and we learned some hard lessons around what it really means to be resilient and adaptable. When I stop and look back over it all, much of it seems like a blur honestly, and I’m left feeling a little dizzy and overwhelmed, but you know what, I feel a lot grateful and proud as well…we all should. We took on so much this year as a faculty, even with the pandemic playing havoc at times, and we should all take a few moments this week to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished as a community. It’s really impressive actually how we’ve managed to keep committed to our goals as a school, and to use the lessons that we’ve learned to become better educators, better leaders, and in many ways, better people.

Besides saying a huge thank you for all that you’ve given to our kids and to each other throughout this craziest of years, I also want to implore all of us to finish strong, and to find just a little bit more strength to get through that final sprint. The last few weeks of a school year can be tough as you know, even in the best of times, as fatigue begins to set in, and as the onslaught of emotions that comes along with saying goodbye to students and colleagues and friends inevitably starts to knock us off balance. With all of that fatigue and emotion dragging us down we still have to be at our best with all that is still left to do…we need to find a way to finish strong, as hard as that may be. 

As tired as we all are, and as eager as we all are to get to the summer, the next three weeks will give us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all that has gone well in spite of it all. All of the personal and professional learning that we have obtained, all of the growth that we see with our students, all of the silver linings that have come out of this most unusual of school years, and all of the ways that we can take what we’ve learned this year and use them to make next year incredible, as we rise up better and stronger than ever. 

Thank you again to all of you, for your strength, resiliency, and unwavering commitment in the face of adversity…you truly are heroes…heroes down the home stretch. We’re almost there so let’s lean on each other and finish strong. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s superheroes. 

-Guy Kawasaki

Inspiring Videos – 

Sign Wars

A Second Chance

10 Things That Made Us Smile

Related Articles – 

Teachers are the Heroes We Need

10 Reasons

Finish the Year Strong

Changing Roles

What Are We Learning?

Unpacking Our Trauma, Celebrating Our Growth

So last week I had a long, and as it turns out, a much needed conversation with a great friend and colleague of mine. We talked about the past year and a half, and how incredibly hard it has been for everyone, and for our world, and you know what, that conversation for me was cathartic. At one point he used the word “trauma” to describe some of his low points since the pandemic began, and for many people that is exactly what the last 18 months or so have been…traumatic.

Trauma as we all know, is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, and it can cause feelings of helplessness, loneliness and isolation. It can diminish a person’s sense of self, and it impacts a person’s ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences. Well, what people have gone through lately certainly fits this definition, and I think the first step toward healing is for all of us to find space to unpack and talk about how we have been affected and changed since this all began. 

To be honest, I’m not very good at opening up about my darker feelings, and I’m outwardly as happy and optimistic as anyone that you’ll ever meet, so the conversation with my friend was a little uncomfortable at first. As it went on however, it started to feel good to say out loud how I was feeling, and to verbally articulate how much I’m struggling with the way the world is these days. It can be overwhelming if you stop and think about all of it, which is why it is so easy not to, so many of us keep focused on the silver linings and little joys and gratitudes as a nice defense mechanism…I’m really good at that by the way, but I’m not sure it’s all that healthy as a solitary and full-time approach. 

Saying that this past year has been hard is a colossal understatement, as people have lost jobs and loved ones, been sick (in some cases more than once), been locked down and isolated away and in most cases deprived of many things that make them happy. We haven’t been able to hug or touch or even see people’s faces, we haven’t been able to travel, many of us haven’t seen family for almost two years, and every day is an uncertainty. The level of stress and the type of stress that people are experiencing is unprecedented and people are afraid. 

For educators specifically, we are struggling to be our best professional selves in this new normal, and we are all desperate for the things that we took for granted, like a face to face happy hour, or a sit down lunch with a friend, or a simple conversation with a student without a mask on. We’re all so tired of it and we all just want to take off our masks and smile and share a hug with someone…anyone. For our students, it’s also been really difficult. Many of the best parts about school are gone for them, and for seniors, it’s happened at the absolute worst time. For the kids who find their identity through sport or theater or social connections it has been devastating. So, let’s talk about it…we need to.

Before the end of the year, as we carve out time to meet and reflect about the year in teams and as a larger division and school, we will have an opportunity to share how we’re feeling, and how we’ve been affected, and by sharing we can find strength in our collective trauma. Like I said, sharing and listening and empathizing can be a cathartic experience, and I think it’s essential that we do this first, before we have the important conversations about how much we’ve grown, and how much we’ve learned, and about all of the good things, the silver linings, that will eventually come out of this. 

In a strange way that conversation with my friend buoyed me a little and I felt lighter and ready to return to my smiley and optimistic self…I think that talking about the hard parts of your year will help you too. Anyway, the end of the school year is in sight so hang in there and lean on each other for support. Together we will unpack our trauma and then celebrate our growth, which will in both instances make us a little bit better and a little bit stronger. Have a wonderful short week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day for all you incredible mothers out there!

Quote of the Week…

Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard.

-Cheryl Richardson

Inspiring Videos – (Mother’s Day Themed)

Bucket List Journey

I’ll Love You Forever

For When It’s Time

Dear Mom

3 Secrets of Resilient People

Related Articles – 

Staying Positive in Difficult Times

Positive Thinking

Talk About It

Coronavirus and Well Being

Coping With Stress

Knowing What You Don’t Know

So I’ve read a number of great books so far this year, and one of them has resonated so profoundly with me that I feel compelled to talk about it this week in the hopes that you decide to pick it up for yourselves…you won’t be disappointed. The book is called, Think Again, written by an organizational psychologist, speaker and writer named Adam Grant, and in my opinion, it might just be the most important book that you read all year. 

This book is the perfect book for all of us right now, because we live in a world where it is so easy to be blinded and blanketed by our own confirmation and implicit biases. Our social media platforms love to feed us what we want to hear and see, and that coupled with the entrenched belief that we know what we know, means we don’t always show up with an open mind when confronted with a difference of opinion. In fact, we are often so convinced that we are right in our views and opinions that we preach and prosecute without listening or questioning or considering at all…and that can be a dangerous roadblock in the search for truth, fact and common ground.

This book implores us to constantly think like a scientist, so we refuse to let our ideas become ideologies, and so we are daring enough to disagree with our own arguments. Grant says that, “thinking like a scientist involves more than just reacting with an open mind, it means being actively open minded. It requires searching for reasons why we might be wrong, and not for reasons why we might be right, and actively revising our views based on what we learn”. 

This book is a necessary reminder that it is essential that we all learn how to unlearn, and how to re-think, and to think again…rethinking is a skillset and a mindset, and something that I would argue we can all get better at. Grant talks about how our ways of thinking can often weigh us down, and we don’t bother to question them until it’s too late. Further to this, he discusses why it’s so hard for us to re-think…because it’s scary. Questioning ourselves not only makes the world more unpredictable, it also requires that the facts that we once thought were true may have changed, and what we once thought was right may now be wrong. 

Grant says that, “reconsidering something that we believe in deeply can threaten our identities, making it feel like we are losing a part of ourselves”, and “when a core belief of ours is questioned, we tend to shut down rather than open up”. I know that I am and have been guilty of this at times in my life, and reading this book it gave me the push that I needed to get in the habit of re-evaluating, reflecting, opening up, and really listening to the other side of an argument, especially when I know the other person is “wrong”. 

Anyway, do yourself a favor…no, do the world a favor and read this book. It’s a fantastic mix of rich storytelling and current research, and it will open up your mind to your own confirmation biases, as well as to the implicit biases that have sneakily become a part of who you are…like I said, you won’t be disappointed. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

The Curse of knowledge is that it closes our minds to what we don’t know. 

– Adam Grant

Related Articles –

Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

Languishing

Persuading the Unpersuadable

Reasoning With Unreasonable People

Even Over Zoom

Inspiring Videos – 

High School Baseball

Daddy’s Girl

The Reverse Selfie 

366 Nights

A Made-Up Word

Adam Grant – Think Again

Armchair Expert Podcast – Adam Grant Returns (Think Again)

Digging Deep

So just last week as I was greeting the kids off of the buses, a student who was new to the school at the beginning of this year said to me, “Mr. Kerr, it always looks like you are smiling under your mask but I’ve never actually seen your face”. So I stepped back several feet, far away from anyone around me, and pulled my mask off to the side for a quick second to give him a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear. He said, “yup, just like I imagined”, and then off he went with his friends to the playground. You would think that a moment like that would bring me loads of joy, and it did make me smile inside a little bit but honestly, as I was walking into the school after the final bus had arrived I was hit with a pretty deep sense of sadness, and then it really hit me…I am so done with this pandemic. 

It’s been over a year now since the world first locked down and it’s getting old and tiring. I know that everyone is feeling it too, and even though the vaccines are starting to roll out at a greater rate, and we have our sights set on possible summer travel, the next stretch coming up is going to require us to dig a little deeper, and to rely on each other even more as we struggle through the third wave. 

We have done so incredibly well as a school to keep our students on campus for the majority of the year, and we are all very good now at staying vigilant with our protocols and restrictions. We have all learned some valuable lessons about resiliency in the face of adversity over the past 15 months, and we have managed to find ways to stay upbeat, energetic and hopeful as the virus hangs on by it’s fangs. The saving grace, for me anyway, is the fact that spring has sprung and the sunny, warmer weather and the gift of these longer, lighter days have given me the boost that I needed to take on this next stretch. 

Over the next few weeks, as we speed toward the upcoming holiday, use the warmth of the sun, and the warmth of each other to find that extra gear, and dig deep for our kids and community. Here is a beautiful poem that celebrates the gift of spring, and over the next three weeks find joy and energy and love in the natural world around us. Have a wonderful week in the sun everyone, and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other…we got this!

“Flower God, God of the Spring…”

Flower god, god of the spring, beautiful, bountiful,

Cold-dyed shield in the sky, lover of versicles,

Here I wander in April

Cold, grey-headed; and still to my

Heart, Spring comes with a bound, Spring the deliverer,

Spring, song-leader in woods, chorally resonant;

Spring, flower-planter in meadows,

Child-conductor in willowy

Fields deep dotted with bloom, daisies and crocuses:

Here that child from his heart drinks of eternity:

O child, happy are children!

She still smiles on their innocence,

She, dear mother in God, fostering violets,

Fills earth full of her scents, voices and violins:

Thus one cunning in music

Wakes old chords in the memory:

Thus fair earth in the Spring leads her performances.

One more touch of the bow, smell of the virginal

Green – one more, and my bosom

Feels new life with an ecstasy.

Quote of the Week…

Some of life’s best lessons are learned at the hardest times 

Inspiring videos – 

Fairytale Ending

Mom’s Final Trip

Sadness into Smiles (A good one to reshare)

The inspirational Dick Hoyt

Surfing in Ice Cold Water – Related TED Talk

Related Articles – 

Pandemic Tips

When Times Get Tough

7 Strategies

Keeping Your Stability

Mentally Strong

The Voice Inside Your Head

So I just recently finished reading a fascinating new book by Ethan Kross titled, Chatter. It’s all about that little voice that we have inside our heads, and the power that it has, when not harnessed properly, to lead us down a rabbit hole of negative self talk and endless rumination. This little voice can easily affect our moods, and if we don’t get control over it, this inner chatter can even negatively affect our physical health, as well the relationships that we have with others. 

Reading it was timely for me, as I’ve noticed lately that probably due to the circumstances that we’re all in, and the year that we’ve all just had, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to keep my inner chatter harnessed and happy. This book was a perfect reconnect for me on how to focus on the positive, keep my perspective in check, and to watch how my words and actions affect the moods and daly experiences of the people that I regularly interact with.

Kross shares stories, research, anecdotes and tools around how to keep your inner voice positively framed, and your negative inner chatter at bay. What struck me the most however, was the incredible impact that the voice inside your head can have on your physical health, and how easily it can take over every aspect of your life. 

Kross sums it up nicely by sharing that, “managing our inner voice has the potential to not only help us become more clear headed, but to strengthen the relationships that we share with our friends and loved ones. It can help us offer better support to the people that we care about and it will insulate us against burnout at work. In short, changing the conversations that we have with ourselves has the potential to change our lives”.

I’m not sure about you but my inner chatter is constant throughout the day, and by paying more attention to it over the past couple of weeks I’ve been able to purposely frame my thoughts and experiences in a more positive light. Take this week to notice the inner conversations and monologue that you are having with yourself, and watch how these conversations are affecting your mood and relationships. 

I highly recommend this book, and if nothing else, use this post to think about how your inner chatter is impacting not only your own daily experiences, but the experiences of the people around you. It’s very easy for negative thoughts and self talk to spill into your conversations with others, so be mindful of this, and find ways to keep focused on the positive, as hard as that can be at times. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

The key to beating chatter isn’t to stop talking to yourself. The challenge is to figure out how to do so more effectively – Ethan Kross

Related Articles – 

Your Mind’s Inner Chatter

Your Inner voice relationship

The Power of Positive Thinking

How To Stop Negative Chatter

Self Talk

TED Talk – Improve Positive Thinking

TED Talk – Live for Your Eulogy

Inspiring Videos – 

Ice Rink Memories

Returning the Favor

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What to Read in 2021

So it’s that time of the year again when I get to order books for my birthday, which is my favorite gift ever because it keeps on giving for months and months and months. The deal is that I have to finish reading all of last year’s books before I get to order new ones, and this year I actually finished a while ago due to the lockdowns and quarantines that we all went through. 

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 2021…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…

There is no friend as loyal as a book

-Ernest Hemingway

Think Again – Adam Grant

Change – Damon Centola

Professional Troublemaker – Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Chatter – Ethan Kross

Bravey – Alexi Pappas

The Lonely Century – Noreena Hertz

The Sum of Us – Heather McGhee

Work – James Suzman

The Data Detective – Tim Harford

Beginners – Tom Vanderbilt

How Innovation Works – Matt Ridley

The EQ Deficiency – Brittney Savarda

Post Corona – Scott Galloway

Unleashed – Frances Frei