Embarking on a new school year has us planning and creating events, lessons, and moments of learning and fun for the students we are so honored to teach. We hit the ground running with enthusiasm, positivity, and visions of extraordinary dancing in our heads.
As I was thinking about myself and all of you, I reflected on what we can do to make sure that looking ahead toward visions of extraordinary becomes looking behind at extraordinary accomplishments. Five things come to mind:
- Believe in who you are teaching.
Be fierce in your belief that all students are capable of learning and deserve uncompromised respect. To accomplish something extraordinary, we must show strength, integrity, and unflagging belief in the children we teach.
- Support colleagues.
School communities foster learning in students, and the best ones foster learning with adults, too. We must support each other with kind words and respectful actions and by sharing ideas and strategies to create a learning environment that we and our students will be proud to be part of.
- Reach out.
Building positive relationships with colleagues sets the stage for supporting each other. There are times we need to stretch out a hand for help, and times we need to lend a hand of support. Developing a culture where help is freely asked for and given builds strong community and models for students that it is safe for them to do the same.
We know the power of reading for our students. Imagine what would happen if we devoted time each day to our own reading: professional books to challenge our thinking and refine our practice, children’s books so we’re ready to match students with perfect titles, and fiction or nonfiction of personal interest to broaden our own horizons. Nothing speaks to the importance of being a lifelong reader as loudly as modeling our own love of reading.
- Consider one thing you did last year that didn’t yield the results you wanted, and give it up or change it.
It can be easy to hang on to things that aren’t working as well as they should be. This is the year to stare them right in the eye, honestly evaluate their worth, and make necessary changes to bring about success. We simply do not have time to spend on things that are not worth it.
Above all, believe in yourself. Find time to reflect, recharge, and remember that you are capable, loving, creative, hardworking, kind, helpful, and amazing. Extraordinary is bound to follow you.