Start Right Now- Promoting Vision: 1/19/2020
As part of my #oneword2020, I have been working on reading more. As I shared in my last post, this has been a truly transforming experience. Reading 10-15 minutes a day has allowed me to learn so much and given me so many takeaways.
Last week, I finished a truly exceptional book, Start Right Now by Jimmy Casas, Jeff Zoul, and Todd Whitaker. I had not heard much about this book prior to reading it, but when I read the synopsis, my interest was piqued. As I read this book, I loved not only how it was organized but how it truly made me reflect on my current practice and look for ways to further enhance what I am already doing. It also gave me great models, people to connect with on Twitter to build my #PLN , and videos and bonus articles.
The book started by having the reader examine their "Why?" Yes, I know this is not a new concept. But the questions asked and the idea of forming a personal vision/mission statement was new to me.
I have wanted to be a teacher as long as I can remember. I have always loved watching inspire students and help them learn. But as I discovered my love for educational technology, this purpose changed and modified.
Just learning for the sake of learning was no longer enough. I want to empower my learners to be creators, to use technology as a way to transform their learning and give them new opportunities. I want my learners to develop and use 21st century skills to be both problem solvers and problem finders. I want to model this for my learners and watch them soar.
The book goes on to share the excellent educators SHOW THE WAY. They have a vision for the future and take the initiative to BE THE CHANGE! They do this in many ways. They inform, they inspire, they include, they clarify, they challenge and they celebrate!
How do I show the way, I reflected. My "Tech Up the Learning" updates immediately came to mind. I love how they enable me to share my vision, involves others in the change I am promoting, are updated weekly and most of all, celebrate all of the great things happening in my school. This past week, one of my colleagues created her own Flashcard Factory lesson and drove the lesson while I supported her. The previous lesson, I had drove the lesson, while she supported. I love empowering my colleagues and students to take risks that benefits all of us.
But just knowing and showing the way is not enough, we must also GO THE WAY! Excellent educators who go the way are models for others and model the vision they promote. They live and breathe the values they believe.
How do I go the way? Throughout this year, I have had the opportunity to share my vision through coteaching sessions. Now as a result, looking at all the learning that has happened. So many of my colleagues are now able to "share with others" risks they have tried and pay it forward and act as models. They are building their repetoire of digital learning skills and promote twenty first century skills while doing so.
While all of these behaviors enable us to show successful teaching, GROW EACH DAY empowers us to reach for our best. This section really resonated with me, especially considering one of my goals this year is to read 10-15 minutes each day. The authors of this book share that "Excellence is a moving target and there is NO finish line." This mirrors the ideas in Innovate Inside The Box, where the authors there shared a master educator also needs to be a master learner.
Since setting my #oneword2020, I have finished 5 books and am reading book #6. I regularly listen to podcasts to grow as well. The authors also assert that Twitter is most powerful tool to grow professionally. I echo that sentiment. Being a connected educator has truly changed my life.
Yes, the takeaways from the content of this book were phenomenal. But one of the things I most appreciated were the sections called Lead 4, Teach 4, and Learn 4. In these sections, the authors shared exemplars of both leaders and teachers of each behavior. They assert that all great leaders and teachers share these same behaviors. As I read these sections, I had my phone next to me and eagerly followed these models. In Learn 4, supplemental articles and videos were shared. These resources were also invaluable to me. I eagerly took notes in my journal to help me remember all of the takeaways I had.
Looking for a great amazing read, don't wait and say "Should I read this?" All of us spend too much time doubting ourselves and that limits all of us. This year, I am CHALLENGING myself to take risks and reading this book has filled me with so many "How do Is?" as I work to give my school's students the best.