Dreamcatchers, Be REAL & More- 12/27/19


A few weeks ago, during a #PD4uandme Saturday morning chat, Traci Browder, @TraciBrowder, shared how she had just read a book that changed her perspective on her mornings and made them more productive.When she shared a book sold on a Christian site, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Being Jewish, I was leery of reading this book. But Tracy assured me that there were universal messages in this book regardless of your faith.

So when I saw it was on Kindle Unlimited, I figured I had nothing to lose and began my break by reading this book. In this book, Ms. Foy discusses 5 habits that successful people do before 8 AM. Some of them I already do- with some degree of regularity, such as #3- Listen to audio teaching (I am an avid podcast listener!) and #5- Exercise (I try to get up and moving every morning- even if it is just walking the dog.) But #2 (Read a lot!) and #5 (Write and review their dreams and goals regularly) were things I had previously done at night. But by then, I was tired from a long day and they easily were skipped and didn't happen.

Luckily for me, Dave Burgess Publishing, @dbc_inc, had an awesome December sale and I had won another book from the #CF12days contest by @RACzyz. This left me with a plethora of books to choose from. But one book stood out- I was a book I have been wanting to read for quite a while. So I began my Winter Break by reading Be Real, #RealEDU, by Tara Martin, @TaraMartinEDU.

In her book, Tara discusses her framework of being real and how it has impacted her work in education- from classroom teaching, to coaching, to administration. As I read each section, I loved learning from Tara's experiences and stories and then making my own connections to them. Sometimes, things seem to happen for a reason and as I read during the first few days of my break, I found some amazing takeaways to add to not only my practice, but my goals as I revisited them and got ready to add journaling to my morning practice.

R- Relatable

I loved how Tara explained the importance of being relatable over just relationships- Being relatable is attainable (p. 36 #RealEDU). I was especially drawn as a tech coach as she described how to use our words to mutiply the REAL power within those we serve. The idea of being a multiplier versus a diminisher was fascinating to me. So fascinating that I ran to my computer and ordered this book using one of my student gift cards. Both my husband and I are recently in new leadership goals and adding this book to our reading lists made perfect sense.

I also loved the idea of adding the REAL framework to the Innovators' Compass. What a great way for me to get to know the staff and students I serve. But more than that, this could be a great way for me to focus my work.

What were my original goals and how have they changed?

1. Getting Google Trainer Certification is still a long term goal but is not one of the priorities I have identified at my school currently. This makes it difficult to get in the prerequisite ten trainings for the application. Being new to a school, I finally feel comfortable and at home. This might need to wait for the 2020-2021 school year.

2. Apply for the Google Innovator Cohort in NYC- This might have been a reach goal considering I started at a new school and so much was new during the application process. But as soon as the 2020 cohort dates are announced, I do plan to apply for real this time.

3. Present at my local state technology conference- VSTE. Like #1, this was a struggle due to starting a new school. However, I definitely plan to apply to present at the 2020 VSTE conference.

4. Blog for an entire year on my website- Almost there- 2 more months to go.

5. Build relationships with my new staff and 6. Take more risks and be more social at school- Definitely making progress on both of these goals.

What has changed in my updated goals?

I am exposing some vulnerability here and sharing some personal and professional goals. I have been so focused over the last few years on professional growth that I have not focused on my personal wellbeing. Fifty pounds later, I need to commit myself to healthy eating and regular exercise. I also have so many books that I want to read to learn and now plan to journal to reflect on not only my strengths, but the dips in the road and how I move forward afterwards.

E- Expose Vulnerability

As I continued reading the next section, I immediately was taken back#4 (Write down your goals and review them). I had made goals at the beginning of the school year. But had they changed? Were they still my goals, my dreams? Was I truly exposing my vulnerability in them? Were these dreams and goals part of my bucket list or in my dreamcatcher? Could I use both my blog and my journal to document and review my journey towards them?

A- Approachable

In the next section, there were so many lessons especially as I get ready to go back to school soon. One of my favorites was when others intimidate you, be REAL and don't run away from conflict. That is a risk that many of us do not take, but as a tech coach, building relationships with my colleagues and students is vital. How can I be the REAL me as I navigate these challenges? How can I face my fears and be an encourager even when I feel beat?

That is also why I loved the idea of the drive-bys. I have been doing informal and unscheduled drive-bys with my colleagues, especially in the morning before school. But how could scheduled drive-bys impact my approachability?

L- Learn Through Life

This section might just be my favorite of all. Like Tara, my number one strength on StrengthFinder is learner. Like Tara, I was initially afraid of blogging and of posting a website, until someone I respected encouraged me to do so. Just as George Couros encouraged Tara, Sam Fecich did the same for me.

But as I read this section, I started to look at my website and blog differently- as a professional time capsule. Even as I wrote this blog, I found myself looking back to previous posts. Could I use aspects of the blogging framework Tara/George shared to document my journey even more. How can I use this technology to share and amplify my REAL self with the world?

So as 2020 begins, I do so with Dreamcatchers, full of REAL goals and more. Thank you Tara for sharing this wonderful book, your journey and your REAL self with the world. I hope to take so many of the lessons you modeled forward as I reflect on my REAL self in 2020.