Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Celebration, Celebration, Celebration

Education is a rough business, and it gets rougher as the year goes on.  As we all gear up to head back to schools in August and September, when everyone is happy, healthy, and the year seems ready to explode with awesome possibilities, it probably is a good time to think about how we can store up those amazing moments when life/school just clicks.  We all know them, that time that Johnny after weeks of struggle finally learned how to solve quadratic equations, or when Suzie, after trembling with trepidation and reporting to the nurse's office weekly during her speech class, finally got up and gave her first speech to her classmates.  Those moments that take your breath away, send your heart a flutter, and remind you what makes our job so rewarding.

Unfortunately, those moments often seem few and far between and the moments of frustration that often lead to these great break throughs often seem to slowly, and then by February, rapidly outweigh and bury that opening day spark.  For years I have kept letters from former students on the wall of my office, so that in those moments of quite desperation I can remember that the system does work, that children learn, grow, and succeed, and that we have the privilege in getting to play a small part of that growth and development.  Another administrative friend of mine keeps an "At a Boy" file where he has stored up 30 years of such notes, moments and sentiments.  But in the digital age, might there be a better way to record those amazing learning moments and archive them for future reflection and rejuvenation.

As I was reading this morning I stumbled across this article from the New York Times about Nataly Kogan's social media start up Happier.  The premise of happier is to share, visually and in text those simple moments when life clicks and joy enters our lives.  Currently the service is currently available on the web and for iOS devices (a drawback for those using an Android smart phone) and allows you to share those moments with friends, family, your PLN, or the random stranger (admittedly a potential negative when sharing about students but in our hyper connected world sharing of student work with proper protocols has already begun to take off).

I spent some moments thinking about and browsing the site, and while I am not sure that I will sign up, or use it, the thought makes me a little, well happier, and has caused me to think about how I can store up those moments of joy to tap into when faced with moments of frustration or struggle.

How do you or will you cherish those times this year?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Yearly Re-Commitment to Blog More

It is July, I am at a conference, learning many great things and having some amazing thoughts that I need to process, and thus my mind travels once again to this blog and my yearly look back at how little I have produced-compared to what I want to see occur.  Inspired by George Couros of The Principal of Change who advocated today, to just get out and do it-when speaking of blogging, here I go again.

I am not sure how to begin, although I know that a basic beginning would be to set a goal and then put it out via social media so that those cyberly close to me can hold me accountable to that output.  This worked well last fall, when I blogged more often and was in a writing group where I had committed to writing on a weekly basis.  This went well, until as a group we seemed to die out as all of our lives became busier and more complex as the school year went on.

I could carve out a time in my day, and set it as an appointment not to miss, so that I would be forced to daily sit, reflect on what has occurred, what I have learned, or what I have read that day that has impacted me.  While I love this idea, it doesn't work so well when I try it for exercise-which admittedly I am not overly fond of-I also worry that like most items on my schedule it becomes tidal waved by the things going around me that are beyond the control of my schedule.  Not to make excuses about time, as I found this great graphic today to really convict me about time:

At the start of his talk today, George Couros said "The smartest person in the room, is the room." Thus, I am turning to those who read this and am asking for comments.  Those of you who blog regularly, what is the secret of your success, and how can I tap in to that?