On January 1st last year, I chose one word to guide me through 2014. The word I chose was courage. Looking back, I couldn’t have made a better choice. There were six different areas where I challenged myself to show courage…let’s see how I did!
The courage to be autonomous
Going against the grain for the sake of my students was something I became more comfortable with this past year. I gained confidence that I was the professional in the room who could make decisions and revise those whenever necessary. I understood that not only was my autonomy essential, but also the autonomy of my students – theirs maybe even more imperative than mine. I was able to let go more than ever before and allow my kids to own their learning. The students left the school year knowing they could make a difference no matter how large or small.
The courage to treat all kids fairly
Working tirelessly to give students what they need when they need it will never be an easy or perfect venture. But I felt as long as I was working to the best of my ability to get to know them as learners and people, I could support them fairly. My students appreciated this and knew that I was always looking out for them. They also knew their opinions mattered and they had a say in their learning. The mutual respect that developed from treating kids fairly rather than equally had a profound impact.
The courage to try new things
Wow, where to begin on this one…2014 brought a plethora of new experiences for me. I was able to present, work with teachers from around the country, and grow my practice. I took the plunge and did my first webinar – a very intimidating undertaking when you are very used to having a live, interactive audience! When all was said and done, I found a lot of success and look forward to expanding this part of my career in 2015. I also left the classroom this year. What a bittersweet move from classroom teacher to instructional coach that is in the sweet stage now! More on this as I continue…
The courage to help my colleagues
This one took on an entirely different look as I took my new position. I am able to help my colleagues with a variety of different things, from technology to reading strategies, grading practices to differentiation. I am grateful to support while watching as they take ownership of changes to make them work for their kids. It is so rewarding, very similar to how working with my students was for so many years.
The courage to write
Just a quick note on this piece of courage. I have continued to blog for my own reflection and growth. No plans to stop this one as the new year begins!
Finally – the courage to leave an impact
The courage to leave an impact will continue throughout my life. As I quoted John Dewey almost a year ago, I want to continue passing along this thought: “Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself.”
What to choose for my one word in 2015? That post is next on the agenda. I can only hope it will guide and serve me as well as Courage has in the last 12 months.