For me, was quite a year that was a year full of firsts.
This was my first year at this particular school. It was the first time I’ve worked at an Inner-City school. It was the first year being connected. It was the first year sharing this connectivity with others.
My friend, previous colleague, and my daughter’s Grade 1 teacher this year, Karen Lirenman (@lirenmanlearns) wrote a blog post where she reflected on her year and then asks her readers, “What is the best thing you’ve done this year?” This question made me ponder my own year and what the best thing I did this year professionally.
So, how is it one determines what the BEST thing they have done in a particular year? For me, it comes down to the following sub-questions:
What has had the greatest impact on others?
What has helped spread my message in a positive, meaningful way?
What have I done that will continue to have positive impact.
After much contemplation, I think that the best thing I’ve done this year is help to inspire others. For me, this is key. This is meaning. This is what helps spread the word. More than that though, it is how I have inspired others that really matters. I didn’t even realize that others were being inspired until some teachers started to express to me how they appreciated my leadership style this year.
One teacher wrote me a note in which she expressed that I was very good at motivating everyone in my quiet way. She went on to say how powerful this motivation has been on others. Another teacher talked with me on the last day and said that she felt that, “You gave me my wings and encouraged me to fly”. I did this, she felt, through modelling my own learning, sharing it with others, asking questions, and encouraging everyone to take risks. She feels that this year, she changed who she was as a teacher. She became more of a facilitator. Her classroom has moved from teacher-directed to student-focused and directed. Many others expressed their gratitude for a great year and how they appreciated my quiet, honest, forthright, positive, student-centred, caring, relationship-focused leadership style.
Many of these teachers are looking at their teaching and personal learning differently. THOSE are powerful game-changers. It is inspiring this “game-changing” that makes me proud. It is inspiring teachers to think about what they do, try new things, and reflect on these things that makes me proud. These are the things that will make the long-term difference in the lives and education of our students. These people now become fire-starters for others in our school. One of these inspired teachers, has even already told me about who her “pet-project” is going to be for next year. She is going to attempt to mentor this teacher with regards to 21st Century Learning and teaching.
What makes inspiring others so great though, is how they, in turn, inspire me. Each one of them, when they try something new, explore something, take a risk, ask a question, reflect on their practise, inspire me. They inspire me to keep working hard, to keep learning, to keep taking risks and to keep modelling my own learning.
I really look forward to what next year brings!
So, now, I pose the question to you,
What was the most important thing you did this year?