When the idea of “one word” started popping up on Twitter at the beginning of 2014 I was intrigued. However, for those who know me well, determining what that one word would be for me seemed like an impossibility. See, I struggle with simple and keeping the word count down. One of my mentors has even advised me to type up my emails, send them to myself and see how much “scrolling” I have to do. If I have to scroll up more than 3 times on my iPhone, time to cut the fluff.
After some reflection this summer I have my word. It has come to me through professional development I have attended, Twitter chats I have participated, professional and personal reading, conversations with others and life experiences that have pushed me to re-evaluate. For a long time I thought this word had to be something amazing and impressive like “brilliance” or “excellence” or “dynamic.” But all of those seemed to put the emphasis squarely on me. As an instructional coach and aspiring administrator, that is not what I want. The other thing about picking a word is if I really mean it… I have to put it out there for my PLN, PLC and colleagues to see. I have to be vulnerable and at the same time own my “word.” I am not sure why picking that one word and letting the world know it seems so daunting, but it does. However, as both Jimmy Casas and George Couros encouraged in their presentations I attended and model through Social Media, I just need to “JUMP.”
My word: FOCUS
Here is my action plan to keep my “word.”
1. FOCUS on my strengths: building and maintaining relationships.
2. FOCUS on my ability to see the big picture and integrate resources, people and techniques.
3. FOCUS on supporting teachers and students so that they can reach their goals.
4. FOCUS on good teaching.
5. FOCUS on student driven learning/motivation.
6. FOCUS on empowering others to learn, grow and lead.
So there it is. FOCUS. I could add more to the list, and I am always looking for suggestions.
How am I working toward my action plan?
1. Connect via Social Media, Face to Face and any means to maintain and build relationships.
2. Stay current with not just tools but philosophy and practice of teaching and learning.
3. Facilitate accountability and collaboration among teachers and students.
4. Encourage risk taking.
5. Foster a learning environment with student friendly learning targets, continuous feedback and evidence of critical thinking (is the learning visible).
6. Encourage, celebrate and share the successes of teachers and students.
I have seen my word “FOCUS” already impact me as I am “reshaping” my blog. I have noticed my mind hone in on ideas and approaches as I read my professional books this summer. In fact the relationships between books because I have “FOCUS” has been tremendous. I am mid-way through the book Learning Targets by Moss and Brookhart for the second time, and this time the book is resonating for me in a completely different way.
Before I read this book (a second time), I read Feedback by Pollock. I think reading that book better helped me FOCUS on understanding the immediacy and impact of every lesson as it is designed and shaped for learning. What is more exciting is that while reading Learning Targets, I am going to start Drive by Daniel Pink. I anxiously look forward to how my FOCUS will take the learning and direction from Drive into my continued growth with Learning Targets. I know when the book study over ROLE Reversal by Mark Barnes begins in late July my FOCUS along with the online Twitter chat I am leading will only enhance and push forward my “word” and my action plan.
As always, I seek feedback. What are your thoughts about my “word?” Any advice or ideas? What is your “word?”