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Friday, July 24, 2015

Before the Year Begins


Before this year begins I want to share something with you…

You are about to start a new year, see new faces, welcome new challenges, and start once again on a one-year journey of student success. You are about to meet a child who will challenge you, push you, and may even go against the grain. You are about to meet a child who needs you more than you will ever know. You are about to meet a child who has failed more times than succeeded. You are about to meet a child who doesn’t get breakfast at home, and dinner is often a hit or miss experience. You are about to meet a child who already knows over half of what you are supposed to teach, but desperately needs you to push him forward. You are about to meet a child who doesn't understand how to make friends, communicate effectively, or work within a group...but is so amazingly smart. You are about to meet an overbearing parent, a parent who doesn’t want to hear from you, and a parent who will do anything to support you.

Every child you meet in a few weeks will be different. Every child will have different needs, different goals, and different past experiences both good and bad. But here is the thing I need you to remember...every child you meet needs you, whether they realize it or not.

Teaching is such a challenging's not a job, it’s a calling, and one that is not answered easily.

Before this year begins I want to share something with you…

You matter, you make a difference, you have a purpose, and you can change the course of a child’s life. Think about many professions afford the opportunity to change a life? But remember can be for good or bad.

One year makes a difference...A child who fails over and over again is likely to stop trying. A child who fails to move forward for one year is likely never to fully catch up. A child who feels unloved, unwanted, or unnoticed for one year is likely going to struggle finding self-worth in the future. Understand the power you’s not just about teaching the subject...its about making a difference in a child’s life.

One year makes a difference...A child who feels loved every day for one year can build a sense of self-worth that will last a lifetime. A child who feels successful each day for one year can find self-efficacy that can sustain the trials ahead. A child who learns the value of working hard, persevering, and understands learning is about the process - not just the product, will build a foundation for a lifetime of success.

Before this year begins I want to share something with you…

I love and appreciate you. Teachers in all areas, paraprofessionals, custodians, food and nutrition services, coaches, and parent volunteers. I love that you chose to come to school and change lives, make a difference, and give children the chance to feel successful. I love that you work hard, tackle challenges, and refuse to give up when it would be easy to do so.

You are about to meet many new children, children who need you, children who will love you, and children who will know more tomorrow because you worked hard preparing something new and exciting today. Let’s change the world one child at a time...and let's do this together.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Why #EdSlowChat?

It’s hard for me to believe I have only been building my PLN for a year. One short year...yet in that time I have formed relationships, found guidance from brilliant people I never dreamed I would meet, and have learned more about education, dreams, and student success at a higher rate than ever before.

Twitter, Voxer, and Blogs… The big three, these three are the main sources for my PLN, three sources that never seem to stop giving me new ideas, encouragement to change, and support when mistakes are made.

Twitter was the beginning - I started by following any well-known educator I could find. From there I joined in on the #TxEduChat and #IAEdChat each week…then from there I found new EdChat after name a few: #LeadUpChat, #Sunchat, #Fledchat, #ChristianEducators, #EdChat, #SatChat, #PISDEdChat, and #PPAEdChat.

Yet for me, something wasn’t right...While I truly enjoyed the fast pace and people I met during the one-hour EdChats, I found I was only able to follow so many posts and read so many ideas shared. In one hour hundreds of ideas were shared, yet I was truly unable to capture it all. On top of that, I began to find it was becoming more and more challenging to make each EdChat, be a part of each discussion, and make the starting times each night...especially since they tended to occur around dinner or story time with my daughter...I didn’t have an answer, but I was beginning to feel anxious trying to balance it all.

Here is what I knew - I loved reading other’s ideas and thoughts in their blogs, had formed strong professional relationships on Voxer, and I was learning at the speed of light on Twitter...yet, I wasn’t able to balance it all. I was struggling to participate in everything I enjoyed being a part of...and I was trying to figure out how I could model digital leadership yet ballance my life at home.

It was around this time that I was invited to participate in a Voxer group of school leaders. Since I was struggling with balancing the time, I threw out the following question to the group - “How do you balance it all?”

It took about five minutes for me to realize that I clearly wasn’t alone in the struggles to balance my life and PLN - I was amazed to see not only was I not alone in this issue, but others were trying to find ways to schedule, prioritize, and figure out compromises in life to make both work. It was then the idea of a slowchat was offered as a - what if? What if there could be an educational chat that focused on one question per week? What if you could jump on when you wanted to? What if you could have time to read and reflect? Enter... #EdSlowChat

Each Sunday morning I ask a new question, one that allows for ideas and multiple answers…

In order to help explain the idea I worked with @artwithbailey, @NancyWTech, @techclara, @techknowleah, and @mike_svatek to make this video:

I also created the following Google Doc so others could share the questions they would love to see asked: Click Here

It has been amazing for me to see #EdSlowChat grow. While I still read as many blogs as I can, continue conversations on Voxer, and do the best I can to participate in as many EdChats as possible, one thing's for sure...

#EdSlowChat was created for someone like me...I want to learn, I want to share ideas, I want to get to know others in the educational community, I just need a little more time and flexibility to join, think, share, and reflect. It is my hope that you have been able to jump in as well -