Make Someone Happy. Make Someone Smile.

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

Most mornings, my son, Cooper, wakes up happy. I enter his room, flip on the lamp and waking him up quickly turns into a game of him hiding under the covers as he gets dressed…most mornings. There are days when he isn’t as happy and he needs some time to wake-up. Then there are the days he wakes up as sour as a bag of lemons. It’s the way it is, right? After all, he is four. At some point, I’m assuming as parents, we will determine he is old enough to make a conscience decision to be happy, but I also realize some folks just aren’t morning people…let’s hope he is not one of those. (No offense to the folks who aren’t morning people)

I’ve often wondered about morning people. The folks who are perceived as being happy the moment they wake up. Is that really a thing? Being a morning person…or is it a term we use when people choose to be happy and outgoing first thing in the morning? 
(For the sake of transparency, I’m probably somewhere in between. On a scale of 1-10 maybe I’m a 6, so I am kind of a morning person.) 
As I was standing in the lounge at school this morning, preparing my cup of “survive the STAAR” coffee, compliments of the new Keurig, I overheard one staff member say to another, “You are always smiling.”
You know what? She was right. This particular staff member is always smiling. Why is that? Is it because her life is easy and absent of conflict or turmoil? I know that not to be true. In fact, I could think of three reasons right now that she could use, as a reason not to smile. Yet, smile she does.

I am not certain of where you stand on this topic. I tend to lean more towards the side of thinking being happy and smiling is a conscience choice we make (or at least attempting to be), but then again, that’s my perspective and my story and I know there are others who feel different.

I am thankful for the staff we have who wake up smiling and more grateful we have others on staff who recognize it in others. In the words of country singer Kellie Pickler, “Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll be a positive person.”

So, whether it’s #celebratemonday or #flyhighfri (there are hashtags for Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday too) do something and share something that makes you happy and makes you smile.

You never know, someone may just realize how happy you are.

You may just make someone smile.

What was your moment today?

Why I Do This

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

For the last fifty-five school days, I have put pen to pad and shared a moment. Why? 

Since beginning this practice of reflecting on my one word for 2016, I have had several people ask me, “How?” but I haven’t had near as many ask me, “Why?”. 

The most popular question I receive is, “How do you find the time?”.

Let me answer that. I do not have a secret way of blogging or a magic bullet. It takes time. Sitting down with my computer has become a routine, so throughout my day I am mindful of the moments I experience. I make mental notes in my head and by the time I sit down to publish, I have a rough outline completed. 

So, why don’t I have as many people asking me, “Why?”. 

Maybe they know. Maybe they think they know. Maybe they do not care. 

Regardless, I spent my day monitoring STAAR testing, so to say I had some extra time to reflect is an understatement. As I was sitting, standing, monitoring and walking around, I started to consider what my moment for today would be. While pondering my moment, the thought of “Why do I do this?” entered my head. It would be easier not to do it, but since when do I take the easy route…with anything?

Why I Do This:

1. Reflection – Reflection is a practice that is thrown around a lot in our profession and I believe it happens more often than we think, but we as a collective group of educators are not purposeful with it. Yes, we can reflect on our day, rethink decisions and/or plans, but if we do not do anything with our reflection…what’s the point? I shared this example with a student after school today…If you are going to do your homework or classwork and then lose it or not turn it in, what’s the point? Reflecting and then not writing it down or doing anything with it, is kind of the same. What’s the point. My daily moment allows me to capture my reflection. 

2. Sharing – While my moment allows me to capture my reflection, I want to be able to share it with others. I want to share it with others because maybe, just maybe, there is one another person in the world who is experiencing the same thing. Maybe there is someone who had a similar experience or maybe through sharing my experience it allows a reader to gain insight in their decision making. After all, sharing is caring. The beauty behind sharing is that I truly do not know who it may impact, but I know who it will impact if I do not share….nobody. 

3. Improvement – I want to improve. I want to be a better father, principal, educator and person. Through reflection and sharing with others, I am able to improve. The comments I receive from those who have read my posts, the retweets that connect with me new PLN members and learning from my moments or in some cases mistakes leads to my personal improvement. 

4. Empowerment – I am not sure I would have included empowerment a few of weeks ago, but over the course of the last couple weeks, I have seen the fruits of being a connected leader and (I hate to even use this term, because I have such a long way to go) blogger. Modeling and practicing what I believe more educators should be doing leads to face to face conversations with educators who are interested in blogging, but have not yet taken the plunge. When I can share insight about my process and they realize a “guy like me” can do it, they feel empowered to do it…or at least give it a try. 

So, there you have it. This is my why. What is your why?

The next time someone asks me why I do this, I am half inclined to ask them, “Why don’t you do this”? 

What was your moment today? 

Resurrect Your Teaching

By now you may have seen this entertaining video of a young boy testing out his new fishing pole.  The preacher at my church, Chris Seidman shared this video clip with us on Easter morning and while I should have been listening to his sermon, I could not help but begin to think of the parallels between this fishing video, the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning and education.

Family Easter Pictures – 2016

Rarely, if ever do I bring religion into my posts, but with Easter just barely in the rear view mirror, the lessons
shared around the globe on Easter Sunday are all too quickly forgotten as we walk out the doors of church and head to brunch and egg hunts. Hopefully this moment will keep you in the Easter spirit for just a little bit longer.

Chris referenced John 21:6 as Jesus appeared to the disciples who had been fishing (unsuccessfully) and instructed them to throw their net off the right side of the boat. Of course, in doing so, they caught more fish then the nets could hold. Earlier in the bible, in Mark 1:17 Jesus tells the disciples to follow him and he will send them out to fish for people. They had been fishing for most of their lives and with the guidance of Jesus they will now become fishers of men.

Honestly, I did listen to the sermon, it was amazing. One line I will quote, which I agree with 100%, “This boy caught a fish, but fishing more than likely forever caught him.” The moment I heard that, I thought, isn’t that what I want for students that enter our classrooms each day? It’s the mindset I want from each of our teachers. We want to catch our students. However, the longer I think…we want to do more than just catch them.

What if I reframed the story and included students instead of disciples and teachers instead of Jesus. What if the relationship and trust between the students and teachers was so great that students blindly go where the teachers say and through taking the risk, reap a hefty reward. What if the teachers were to say to the students, “I have been teaching a long time, but now you will teach you how to learn.”

That is what I want in classrooms. I want students to become learners, moving away from the days where teachers were THE TEACHER.

Some teachers are already there, but what if those who are not yet, could resurrect their teaching, as Jesus was resurrected from the dead?   

Jesus was resurrected and your teaching can be too.

Think back to the young boy in the fishing video. Watch it again if you need to. The excitement he is exploding with is what we want our students to experience while learning in our classrooms. This excitement doesn’t happen teachers are “just teaching”. It happens when teachers are facilitating, encouraging risk taking and creating learning opportunities in the classroom. Notice the father in the video…he isn’t demonstrating how to cast and reel. The teacher or father never grabs the pole, in fact his son is adamant, “…let me do it Daddy.” He is standing along side his son, providing feedback, direction and support; guiding his son, to a one of a kind learning experience.

Do you think his son will want to come back for more? Do you think he will return to that pond soon? By the way, who was doing most of the work in that video? The father or the son? The teacher or the student?

Do your students want to come back for more? Do your students want to return to your classroom? Who is doing most of the work in your classroom? You or the students?

If you did not like the honest answers you provided to any one of the questions above, its ok…but what are you going to do about it? How will you resurrect your teaching?

If you did like your honest answers…How can you resurrect the teaching of someone else who may need it?

Interested in hearing the rest of Chris Seidman’s sermon? Click Here: Easter 2016: Rise

What was your moment today?