Thursday, April 27, 2017

Merchant of Hope

Merchant of Hope
There are many wonderful things that I enjoy about education, but one of them that always rises to the top is being a merchant of hope. Hope is the heart of compassion which teachers and administrators need to navigate the waters of people and situations in our schools. Hope is found in the middle of the storms at work, not the shoreline on either end where the storm has subsided. Hope arises on the capsizing waves not the white foam found on the shoreline that tickles your toes. Hope is found in the darkness of a situation before the promised light comes. It is found in the hallways as we are faced with many doors of decisions to make as we ponder which to choose. Hope is the greatest gift, asset or treasure we can give out. Hope is being part of the solution, not the problem. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it whispers to you that it can be solved. Being a merchant of hope has to be part of the school culture.

As a teacher, staff member or an administrator, it is vital to be a merchant of hope. That doesn’t mean that we live in an alternative reality where everything is always awesome because we know that it is not, but we know that it does mean that we are not paralyzed by fear because we have hope. We might find ourselves in spaces where our heart is broken in raw and relevant ways though we have done everything possible to make mattering the agenda. We all have sat behind a closed door with our head between our knees from time to time, gathering our spirits again to open the door to hope. Hope is what we give and what we need & breeds successful schools.

We can do this by honoring the stories that people want to tell by authentically listening and by creating spaces for that speaking and listening to flourish. I myself find that geniushour and teaching students to harness the power of hope through speaking & listening skills as they prepare to give TED Talks of their own creates a learning legacy because I am letting students know that they are born for significance. I do this with intentionality as I remind them that their purpose is wrapped up in both their passions and their compassion and to give hope to others.
Hope is a gift received as well as a gift returned to the world.

Future of Life Institute

I approach all the students as little seeds. I partner with the parents and the school to plant seeds and nurture the seeds so that it will grow. I am only given so much time to help the seed grow, but in that time I must water it well and give it needed nutrients. Those nutrients give it strength to push through the dark, cold soil into the sunlight with hopes of becoming something more than just a seed and being part of that becoming is my honor.

Hope in our classroom or school says:
I accept you.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I see you.
I support you.
I respect you.
I will protect you.
I believe in you and you can do this.

In fact, hope even goes farther. Hope says to the students, families and staff, HOLD ON! I will row my boat out to the middle of the lake where you are. Hope says you can get in the boat with me or I will get in the boat with you. It even offers to tether the two boats together to continue moving forward. Hope throws you a life-preserver. Hope helps airlift you out. Hope makes way for extraordinary change because hope takes risks together.

Illuminate with hope. Let it fly around our workspaces like fireflies free at night, the tiniest bits of light pushing through the dark and in that moment when we can’t catch our breath, hope comes in and fills our lungs and turns our heads finally just when we least expected it. Schools that thrive, have hope found in their hallways, offices and classrooms. Anything is possible when we are a merchant of hope and create this culture at school.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For The Love of TLAP #LoveTeaching

Several years ago (I thought it was 4, but it was 5!) I came across the book Teach Like A Pirate  the world of Dave Burgess, then #TLAP & it saved me. #TLAP was new and fresh as a chat and the book was taking up the education world like a storm.

I was perishing in a silo and unconnected. Not that I was a wreck, not exactly. I was feeling like I was trying out new ideas but in that, I was alone. Sometimes, when you are alone it makes you feel like what you are doing and your innovation does not matter. 

I had a boss who gave us an iPad. It was new to us. I really didn't know what to do with it and I had heard of Twitter, but not Twitter for educational use and I had no idea that there was a whole tribe of people just like me waiting for me on the other side. I joined Twitter. That was all it took.

It was much like that scene in Schindler's List with all the people coming over the hill of people that he had rescued and saved. I was saved. Do you remember it? The whole movie had been filmed in black and white until the hill scene with all these people, everyone touched because of Oskar Schindler and the movie broke out in color.

I came across a tribe of people. That tribe of people were reading this new up and coming book called Teach Like A Pirate and it was as if we were drinking water for our parched throats with words and ideas that filled a page, with words that lifted weighted hearts like mine that were born to fly. Just around the same time, #TLAP started. We were world changers, education hackers & dreamers and lovers of learning. We were passionate about students, the art and science of education. We were coming alive in a safe space.
Casting Crowns: Thrive

Everything can change when you open a new book, and the words pour into you. This is a great week to celebrate the teachers in your children's lives. It is #LoveTeaching week. If you are drowning in status quo or feel like you are stuck in a rut or a silo, that is not a space designed for you. We have a noble profession. You were born to thrive, not survive. So,
pick up the book here! 

If you love a a teacher, the classroom, the administration at your children's schools or at your own where you work , then buy them the book. If you think that there could be growth in those spaces of learning, then buy them the book.

In this life, we need to look for the gateways that open up hope and Teach Like A Pirate is a great way to start. It will lead you to all the books that Dave and Shelley Burgess have birthed so that we might as educators be able to speak life back into our classrooms. Tell them I sent you over and tell them Dave did too.

So why do I #LoveTeaching? Well, because of all of this! All this and one GREAT book!

 Great collaboration & PLN including our Minnesota #mnlead

 Laughing at the everyday joys

 Touching hearts/reaching minds

 Food in lounge

Ever so thankful to you Dave. 
Ever so thankful.