Sunday, October 30, 2016

This Annie Dillard quote is really helping to motivate me today.

Novelist and essayist Annie Dillard writes very insightfully. This one sentence of hers really cuts through a lot of noise for me today as I think about the present and the future.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Hmmm. That's got me thinking about my days. And my life in general.

Here's the good news . . . At least you and I, colleague, get to spend our days -- mundane or stressful though they may be -- in the service of a greater good. We are building up fellow human beings (often remediating what was not done for them by parents). In so doing, we're helping to make a better society in the long run. This is significant and consequential!

You are an agent of light in a very dark world. Be well, and try to enjoy your days!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This quote from Lolly Daskal is a good reminder of your significance. . . .

"Shift your focus
from being successful
to being significant."

~ Lolly Daskal

Lolly is an inspirational speaker, motivational coach, and author whose emphasis is on leading from within. She writes about how personal values are more important than management strategies or fads. I'll bet if you're in the education profession, you're not obsessed with success or getting ahead; sometimes mere survival is the order of the day! But Lolly reminds us to remember our focus: as educators we are significant in the development of future men and women. As the school year goes by, with all its drudgery and stress, remember that you really matter in students' lives as you help them grow.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

This video is a good reminder that our students are human beings dealing with many real issues.

A couple of days ago we had an assembly about a tip/help line in Michigan called ok2say. It covered a number of topics. One was bullying. The presenter showed a video where a boy shown bullying others is handed a pair of empathy glasses by a custodian. Now as he looks at other students he sees words above them that tell what they're going through.

It was a very sobering reminder to me: I have 170 students this term, thus 170 human souls, all in different situations, some good, some far from good. Looking for that video, I happened on this one for teachers. It's geared toward the secondary level, but is really applicable for all walks of life. Many of the people we interact with are "dealing with something"; sometimes they are wearing their game face, sometimes it's really affecting them. Regardless . . .

I usually try to keep my offerings encouraging or cheerful here on UpTeach, but I pass this along to you today with the hopes it might be of service.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What Bill Gates had to say - about you!

public domain image
Hey, Bill gets us! It's nice to hear a person so identified with technology and business understand that educators are what actually make the difference:

"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important."

I don't know about you, but sometimes it seems we're In a field where technology is adopted first and then somehow worked into the curriculum later:

"IPads for everyone! Oh . . . wait. . . ."

(Plus that's the other computer company. Sorry, Bill.)

But as Mr. Gates notes above, the important work going on in the classroom is getting the kids collaborating and being interested in what they're being asked to do. All with the ultimate goal of living a life of collaboration and passion. That's what you are doing, colleague!

Thanks for the reminder, Bill!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

These words from Haim Ginott might be a little scary, but they're a lot inspiring.

Here we are, colleague, with about a month under our belts.

I'm a bit late, but I'd like to offer the annual re-posting of one of my favorite thoughts. A few years ago Mr. Matt Reeves, then my assistant principal, read this to the staff on the day before school. I like to pass it on as a first post of the school year, a message that is both cautionary and inspiring:

"I have come to a frightening conclusion.

I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child's life 

miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized."

~ Haim Ginott 

from Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers, 1972