Finding your WHY?

In response to a TED talk given by Simon Sinek.

If you start with the why it connects directly to people’s behavior, their trust and their loyalty. Make a connection to the heart before you make a connection to the mind. People don’t buy what we do they buy why we do it.     -Simon Sinek “How great Leaders Inspire Action”

This is how I should feel about all my students:  “I love you just the way you are but love you too much to let you stay that way.”

I want to help students find their “native genius.”  When students find something that they love it fills them up.  Instead of sucking energy, it gives them energy.  If students can find something that they are really good and and enjoy it can fuel explorations and learning throughout their entire lives.  A student commented today, in a reflection about a spray painting session, “I finally found what I love in art.”

Focus on people not on stuff.  A good example of this when a student started peppering me with questions about my world travels.  She was hungry for stories and descriptions. I could have told her to get back to work but instead we had this great conversation that I think was inspiring to her and it also taught me an important lesson.  Students want to hear about my travels and my experiences in the Peace Corps.  How can I weave it into my teaching more?

Focus on student strengths everyday!  Instead of just saying “great job” give students specific feedback about their strengths and more importantly help them connect how they can use their strengths to tackle areas of weakness or desired growth.  Teaching and modeling for students how to recognize strengths in each other can have exponential results.  I am not the only one in the classroom doing it.

Help students be the best they can be.  This is the obvious generic WHY.

Get parents involved.  Not quite sure about this one as I don’t want to invite drama into the classroom.  Ask the students how their parents would like to be involved.

These are the pieces that go into my WHY.  It is important that my students know this.  Make sure they know this from day one: with how I introduce my classes, with quotes on the walls, with the focus of my coaching sessions with them.




Blogging is Our Job??!!

I have been reading about blogging on Twitter.  George Couros says that as teachers “blogging is our job.”  I am on a mission to find out more about what he means.  AND I am starting a blog so I can learn as I go.

I want to grow as a teacher.  I want to help my students be the best that they can be.  Will blogging help me with this?

I watched a few tutorials on Blogging by Leigh A Hall.  She has several and the first is “Blogging for Teachers: Part 1 – Why Blog?”  She says that there are many good reasons to blog one being that if we know how to do it then we are better able to help our students learn how.  However she did say that people are less interested in “our story” then they are in a topic they are interested in.  Hmmm… this seems to contradict what George says.  I’ll have to delve into this question more at a later time.

Why do I want to write a blog?  To be honest I am not sure, but I trust that it may transform my teaching practice in some way.  I like that George says that he writes for himself as a way to reflect on his teaching practice and write about things that he is excited to try in the classroom.  I would much rather write about something that I am excited about than picking a topic that I think other people would like and writing about that.

I am a little afraid of what are people going to think IF they read this.  Since I know that worrying about what other people think tends to be one of my biggest obstacles to trying new things, I am going to ignore those thoughts for now until I get feedback to the contrary.

Who is the audience?  As a teacher I suppose other teachers MIGHT read my blog.  But more likely I will be the one reading my blog as a way to reflect and build on  my teaching practice.  I am thinking that I would want my students and parents to read my blog so that they can be more engaged in the classroom.  How this would work is very fuzzy in my mind and will require some more investigation.

Other people’s blogs

In an attempt to learn more about blogging and to find out what types of blogs are out there I did a google search and I found these:

20 must follow art education blogs and Art Ed blog of the year

The most interesting blog I found was by a K-12 art teacher art ed guru  This is a pretty amazing blog but it was overwhelming because of all of the knowledge he has and the dozens of posts. Immediately I began to feel inferior and question some of the decisions I make in the classroom, but ultimately I discovered a great professional resource AND it caused me reflect on my practice.  Big WIN!  Leigh A. Hall says that it is important to see what other blogs there are out there so you can see where there might be a nice that hasn’t been filled.  I can see that point but I am thinking that it would be more valuable because of the community I could build and the knowledge I could acquire.

Blog vs. Website

I found an artist on Twitter, Jennifer Frith, who I often find myself referring my students to.  She has great videos and an attractive layout on her website that I know some of my students would really like.  It makes me wonder what is the difference between a website and a blog?  I think of her site as a blog but really it’s a website.  Why choose one over the other?

Well I am done with my very first blog post.  I am shocked that I am doing this but also hopeful and excited.