11 Lessons Learned on the Stairs Today

As many of you many know, I have a passion for photography. I love taking photos and revisiting places I have been, moments in time, and all kind of memories through photographs I take. Unfortunately, I do not take photos as often as I'd like anymore. So, this post will feature some my most recent photos.

Today, while at another set of stairs, a number of life lessons came to my mind in my surroundings. I would like to share these lessons with you – through photography. All these lessons, can, of course, be related to education in many ways.


1. It's important to stop and take in all that surrounds us.

Often, we don't “see” things unless we stop and take the time to really look.
There are many great things happening in education and in our schools. It is important to not only focus on our goals, but also recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the wonderful things that are already happening.


2. There is beauty in the ordinary.

What may seem ordinary to one person, or group of people, may seem anything but ordinary to someone else. Look at these plants below. The people who see these every day probably take then for granted and may not even notice them anymore. For someone new to them, I find them interesting and beautiful!

What one educator may feel is ordinary and boring, another may find extraordinary. This is why it is so imperative that we share our practice, our learning, and our challenges with others. It is through this sharing that we can all learn valuable lessons from one another. It is through this sharing that we build a powerful network of learners who are readily available to listen and help in any way possible.


3. What may first appear “average”, may not be what it seems.

It's so important in life, and in education, not to judge someone by how they look, how they dress, the way they speak, and a multitude of other factors. So often, things are not how they seem and, if you have an open mind, accepting attitude, and take time, you will likely learn the truth.


Take these stairs, for instance. If I were to have started from the top and made my way down to the bottom, I would have thought they were just an ordinary set of stairs, built to torment me.

However, in reality, the stairs are just the opposite. They are a piece of art, built to make make me enjoy the moment and every set up those stairs. Take a look for yourself.

Stunning, right?

In our life as educators, it is imperative to take the time we need to look beyond what we think is “normal” (or not typical, for that matter). In doing so, you may be surprised to notice something extraordinary and completely unexpected!


4. Many individuals contribute to the success of something great.

Many people contributed to making this beautiful staircase a reality. Throughout the art, if you look closely at the details of the mosaic, you will notice that there are names of individuals who helped in this amazing project.

Schools are the same. We could not do our best, most inspiring work, alone. We need the contributions of others to help us become our best and to help our students become the best they can be.

5. It takes an entire community to achieve our ultimate goals.

This wonderful mosaic project above was also made possible by many community agencies and businesses in the surrounding community and State.


This is similar in schools. Some may disagree with the involvement of outside agencies or businesses in our schools, but I see all of these as contributing members of our society – and our schools. I think of our own school, an inner city school with many students who many would consider to be “at-risk”. The community agencies. local businesses, local church, the City, and Community Schools make many things possible which wouldn't be without their support. Many of our students are able to take part regularly in much-needed extra-curricular activities which they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity. These supports also provide our students with breakfast, snacks, and lunch. We all understand the importance of proper nutrition in learning. We are very grateful for all the support we receive from others in our community. It definitely would not be the same without their support.


6. Sometimes things may look like they are out of place, or do not belong, but they too, contribute to the beauty of the surroundings.

Sometimes, we may look around our environment and wonder how certain things got there. They just seem out of place. Beautiful, in their own right, but out of place. You will notice how out of place the purple flowers in the first picture appear. Likewise for the pink flowers in the second picture, they just seem to grow in the middle of no where. Alone. Still beautiful.
All members of our educational environment contribute in their own unique way. We need to remember, just because they are not the same as others, they each have their own strengths and gifts.


7. Sometimes, the closer you get to something, the more beautiful it seems.

This flower below is beautiful. Well, I think it is beautiful. The closer I got to the flower with my camera, looking at the same flower in different ways, at different angles, the more stunning it became. What do you think?

Similarly, in education, it is important to look at situations, students, parents, caregivers, teachers, paraprofessionals, and all other influences on our system, from different angles, different perspectives, and through different lenses. It is only then when we will truly listen and learn to understand. Understanding needs to be one of our main goals as educators.


8. Beauty takes time to surface.

As I look down from the top of the stairs, I know that behind the overwhelming fog is a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay Area. I just can't see it, but that doesn't mean it is not there.

Similarly, in education, some situations or even, sadly, some individuals, may get a bad rap. People may think that they are something they are not and, if they just take the time to really get to know them, then they will see who they are and the beauty they have to offer.


9. It is important to remember from where we have come.

It is through the acknowledgment and honouring of our history that allows us to grow and develop.

In schools, we also have to acknowledge and honour from where we have come to be able to move forward. The history in our schools is an important part of the culture and needs to be valued (particularly, if you are new to our location).


10. Reflecting is an essential part of our growth as people and educators.

In order to move forward, it is important to reflect on every aspect of our life. Reflecting can happen anywhere and everywhere.

To truly move forward as an educator, we must each take time to reflect on where we have come from, what we are doing, and where we want to be. At that point, it is essential that we make adjustments to what we are doing in order to make change and move forward. I believe that being a reflective practitioner is one of the best things one can do to further his or her educational pedagogy.


11. Share with those you care for (and everyone else, for that matter. 😉 )

Seeing the mosaic stairs today was great, but seeing them and sharing them with my family was incredible. Seeing my daughter's face and expression in her eyes as she looked up the stairs was magical.

Sharing in education, as I mentioned earlier, is so important, helpful, and transforming. I cannot express how grateful I am to my PLN for helping me grown and develop as a professional and as a person. Thank you!

And there, my friends, is my posts through the eyes of my camera.

I hope you enjoyed this one!


Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

3 thoughts on “11 Lessons Learned on the Stairs Today

  1. What a beautiful post filled with stunning pictures and rich connections to our important work! Thank you for sharing! As I am participating in the #AugustBreak2013 picture blog challenge, this blog came at the perfect time for me!

    1. Hi Amy,

      Thanks for your kind words! Glad it could help. I’ve never heard of that challenge. Would love to hear more (although August is almost over). Sounds like fun!


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