There are so many ways to pause (my OLW for 2020). This week I’m pausing to celebrate. I’m a pretty positive, optimistic person by most standards, but when it comes to my work, I tend to be critical of myself. I want to see positive change, and I often want to see it happen faster, and more completely, than it does. I tend to look ahead to all that still needs to be done. My lists are long, and I’m often frustrated at myself for not accomplishing all that I set out to do. I want to do more. I want to be more. These qualities can be positive. They drive me forward. They push me to outgrow myself over and over. But they can also cause frustration and disappointment. So this week I’ve decided to push pause and celebrate all that is going well.
I’ve recently finished reading the book Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk by Shana Frazin and Katy Wischow. There is a strategy these authors mention in their section on listening called Study the Strengths. Shana and Katy encourage students (and adults) to listen for what we might consider (instead of for what we might disagree with). This idea made me stop and think about myself. Am I studying the strengths, or am I always listening for what still needs to be better?
So this week I’m leaning in and I’m pausing to study the strengths. Here are some I’ve seen already (and it’s only Tuesday morning):
Teachers talk about children in such thoughtful ways.
Teachers talk about the reading and writing process in ways they didn’t a few years ago, with deeper knowledge of how readers and writers develop.
Teachers are teaching reading and writing in ways that are responsive to student needs.
Classroom teachers, special educators, and reading interventionists are working together to figure out what instruction is best for students.
Classroom teachers are working with me on studying student work and finding ways to accelerate progress for all students.
Students are growing in amazing ways as readers, writers, thinkers, and people!
I can talk hard with one of my administrators about teaching and learning. She listens, gives hard feedback, and works to support the literacy work.
Teachers are trying out new ideas, taking risks, and working hard for their students.
Teachers want to outgrow themselves.
This is just the beginning of my celebration. I’m going to keep a list all week of our strengths. After just one day of this, I already feel more optimistic and energized about the day ahead. I think I’ll make pausing to celebrate a habit.