When I was a classroom teacher it was so easy to get pulled in so many directions and get caught up in so many projects. I was always volunteering to be on this committee and to chair that important group, that it was easy to get lost to what really mattered: teaching my students. Has that ever happened to you?
Part of that comes from the fact that I’m inherently a high energy person, sometimes driven to distraction! No…really I am. And part of that comes from the fact that I’m constantly looking to re-invent myself, and my work, because, deep down inside, I’m a creative person. You’d probably not really think that about me, if you met me. I don’t have a funky style of dress, I don’t know how to paint, draw, or make amazing hand-made creations that I can sell on Etsy. But are those things what really defines a person as creative?
One Little Word. An Idea that Sparked a Resolution.
January is a time of new beginnings. At least it always has been for me. In this time, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to harness this energy that I have, to be focused in the work that I do, and I came upon this project.
This One Little Word project got me thinking that if I could make a commitment to pick a word for the year that defined my work, it would support me to stay focused on the things that matter in my work. It would guide me to concentrate and grow, instead of being all over the map. It would also help me to support others to do the same.
The more I thought about what my word would be and all the words that educators might pick to describe their work such as organized, professional, structured…the more I thought that those words didn’t work. I wanted to choose a word that would inspire me, lift me up and make me smile every time I thought about it.
So I thought about all the projects and people I’ve known in my career as a teacher and a principal. I thought about what I remembered that defined those projects and people that I really enjoyed and admired. What was the essence of those experiences? Then it hit me: Creative.
I began to reflect on those opportunities that I had to do creative projects and be around creative people. I remembered that those were the times that I was the most successful, content, and happy. The project might have been to create something seemingly mundane like design a new schedule, rubric, report card or workshop. But during those times, working with those creative teachers, I was truly challenged to create something new from something old, and I loved it! I was inspired to work with others, hear their perspectives and see the project come to life.
I want to wake-up every morning knowing that I have a new opportunity to CREATE. Maybe it’s a blog post, a new chapter in my book or a photograph. Maybe it’s a workshop, a journal entry or my new goal: an e-course for educators. Whatever it is, I want to hold that word close to my heart and be a “ripple in the pond” for other educators.
In my work, I never want to be the kind of educator who grows stagnant and stops learning. I want to consistently push myself now (as a consultant), just as I did as a teacher, to think big thoughts for myself, have big dreams and
So will you join me? Will you take this time to re-focus your work for 2012? Come back to the thing that really resonates for you?
Will you choose One Little Word? Mine is CREATE. What’s yours?
~Lisa is an Educational Consultant and blogs at Teaching with Soul.
Photo:Sarah Parrott CC BY-NC-SA 2.0