Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

I blogged a while back about organizing a faculty poetry festival. Well, it happened in the middle of March and was a lot of fun. I recited the Poem, "What Teachers Make, or Objection Overruled, or If things don't work out, you can always go to law school" By Taylor Mali It was a great choice of poem. You can watch my recitation here:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dare some mighty things...

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt
I downloaded a motivational quote app on my iPhone. It might be silly, but things like this do keep me going. It has been a rough winter and a slow wet spring. I'll take my motivation anywhere I can find it.

I have written about failure before. I do really believe that we have to get over our fears of failing. These fears stop us from asking questions, from trying things out, from testing new waters and ultimately from reaching success.

As I get back into my rowing and coaching I tread constantly on the verge of failure. My stroke is far from perfect and the boat I am driving and coaching sometimes heads precariously too close to shore.

In my professional life, I feel I have been sitting in the gray twilight of safety. As the sun shines (hopefully it will soon) I am planning to push myself a little closer to the edge, to dare some mighty things this spring. I don't yet know what they will be, but just writing this down will hopefully help me to try something new. I hope you will too.

Sun Flower by aresauburn, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  aresauburn 

(I used to cite this image)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who are you? Who are you really?

Every year, twice a year, our students participate in a speech contest. Six boys are chosen to read an original 5 minute speech to the entire school. This morning one of the boys spoke about an interview at a local grocery store where the first question the manager asked him was "Who are you? Who are you really?" Zach was taken aback by the question and struggled at first to answer it. He eventually came up with a response worthy of being hired, but the question has been nagging at him ever since.

Who am I? Who am I really? How often do we ask ourselves these question? How often do we ask our student's this question? Should we have a ready answer? Should they?

I am an educator, a technology user, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mentor, a coach, an athlete, a dancer, a reader, a writer, a searcher, a thinker, a film maker, a leader, a sharer, an advocate, a talker, a listener and so much more.

In the end, Zach felt that who we are changes so constantly, that a better question is "Who do you want to be?"

Who are you? Who are you really? Who do you want to be?

Starting the week on a philosophical note...

P.S. You can see the conclusion of Zach's speech here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Taking off the kid gloves... What do you think?

I am about to finish my third year at Belmont Hill School. It has been a great and productive three years. I do see that the glass is more than half full, but right now I'm also looking at the part that is empty. Belmont Hill is an amazing place with a motivated and talented faculty. I've spent the last three years getting to know everyone and building trust. I've worked with the most technology enthusiastic and even had success with some of my more resistant colleagues. But there is still so much to do.

The thing is, I've done three years in one place before. I've come in and shaken things up. I've won over the naysayers. But I've never stayed for the fourth year. The next steps are new to me. Today I've been thinking that this is the time for the kid gloves have to come off. I have to start pushing us just that much harder to the bigger changes, the places where we have to give some things up to move ahead.

At the end of the year I always give a presentation to the faculty. In the past my presentations have been in praise of all that we have done over the last year. I'm starting to think that this year I might do this differently. We have accomplished a lot this year, but I might need to throw down a challenge and force people to face up to where we need to go.

What do you all think? Is this too harsh? Should I save this for the fall? Or would it be better to get people thinking as they start their summer? I would love some advice on this one. Let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance!