Friday, January 1, 2016

Lean In

I was going to write about last year. That's a common New Year's Day blog post, right? Or maybe a resolutions post. But you know what, I can't. I try, but but but looking back bores the heck out of me. I mean, yeah, I can look back a little and assess how something went. But writing about it? Put me to sleep. And the resolutions? Nope. Can't do 'em. More boring. I hate being pigeon-holed, I end up feeling blocked in. There are times I wish that's how my brain worked, but for the most part, I like being novelty driven, and constantly focused on possibilities. I was trying to think of following the #OneWord trend and set a guiding word for the year, and I think I can kind of get on board.
Kind of.
Does a phrase count? Because if a phrase counts, I'm going with "lean-in." And by "lean-in," I mean this: there are a lot of times in any week of teaching that I don't feel like I know what I'm doing (even at seventeen years of teaching). I watch teachers doing things, and I'm not always sure why, and I'm always sure I want to know why. And saying this is not to disparage what other teachers do. It's just to say that as a teacher, I don't always fit in with how we're "supposed to" be teachers.  I also don't think this is a bad thing, and so I'm gonna lean into it.
Got an interest? Lean in. Got a passion? Lean in. Don't just be you. Be YOU. Follow the things that make you you, lean in to your tastes, proclivities, and ideals. Dive down rabbit holes, explore the things that you love most. Yes, there are things that you don't do well that you could be working on, but then again, you probably have some pals (either at your school, in your district, or in your online PLN) that you can lean on for help. And meanwhile, when you go deep on the things that matter to you, you have more to share, as well.
Finally, I believe that things that work for teachers generally apply to students as well. I know that we often feel pressure to have all students succeed, and it often feels like we need to have them all be  successful at everything. But I think that lean-in applies here, too. It's nota that all students need to succeed at everything, it's that they all need to be successful in ways that enrich their lives. Of course, kids all need to have the basics to get by in life, be decent human beings, good citizens, etc. Moreso, they, too, need to lean in, find what makes them them, and push hard in that direction.
Lean in. You don't stand out by doing what everyone else does. You stand out, you make yourself crucial by being the you-est you. 

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