Monday, July 25, 2016

Just Do It (post #3 of 3)

This is the third, and final post I have planned after being inspired from the introduction of Phil Knight's memoir, Shoe Dog. You can read the first two posts here -
Just Do It (post #1 of 3) (linked)
Just Do It (post #2 of 3) (linked)
"Few ideas are as crazy as my favorite thing, running. It's hard. It's painful. It's risky. The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an oval track, or down an empty road, you have no real destination. At least, none that can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It's not just that there's no finish line; it's that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasure or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find them from within. It's all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself." (p.5)
Again. What does this have to do with education? It has everything to do with education.

I read that passage, and I think student voice. I think about the need that we, as educators, have to empower our students. I think about implementing things such as Genius Hour, or Google's 20% Time, or Passion Projects, etc. I think about giving our students the autonomy to own their own learning. I think about these things because this is what I want for my kids. And if it's something I want for my kids, then it's something I want for all kids.

When we love something, we'll climb mountains to get it. When we truly desire something, from within, we'll do more than we ever thought was possible. When we are self-motivated, our commitment level is unmatched.

We have to continue to evolve. We have to flip the script. The education of a child should never be something done to them, but instead something they are a part of. Something they own.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just Do It (post #2 of 3)

The other day I started writing after being inspired from the introduction of Phil Knight's memoir, Shoe Dog. You can read that original post here - Just Do It (post #1 of 3) (linked).

I don't have an elaborate introduction, other than here is my follow-up post (with still one more post in draft form).
"What if there were a way, without being an athlete, to feel what athlete's feel? To play all the time, instead of working? Or else to enjoy work so much that it becomes essentially the same thing?" (p.3-4)
Choose your attitude, make someone else's day, be there, and play. Those are the principles of the Fish philosophy.

If you don't enjoy your work, find something else to do. Life is too short to do things that we don't give us daily satisfaction.

I feel pretty comfortable/confident in saying that there are plenty of opportunities to play all the time if you work in education. If you work in education, you will most likely spend some time working in a school. And if you spend some time working in a school, you will be in constant contact with kids.

You work with kids. You deserve the opportunity to have fun and play, daily. It should be your professional obligation to take advantage of some of these opportunities. Kids Deserve It.

What are some of the examples of things that I do to play in my job as an elementary school principal? Taking birthday selfies with students, any type of celebration with staff and students, playing with kids at recess, reading aloud to classes, high fives - lots of high fives, wearing Darth Vader or some other type of funky socks, wearing my LEGO bow tie, sharing inspiring/motivational resources with staff, being taped to a chair...I could go on and on, but like Jay Bilas says, "I gotta go to work."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Just Do It (post #1 of 3)

"Why is it always so hard to get started?" 
That's from page one of Phil Knight's memoir, Shoe Dog. I've read the introduction, a whole five pages of text, and I am fired-up. I'm trying to pick a single passage to inspire this post, but there are literally half a dozen that I have marked like whoa.

Where do I begin? I don't know. So, I guess, I'll just keep typing and see where this goes.
"There's a kind of exuberant clarity in that pulsing half second before winning and losing are decided. I wanted that, whatever that was, to be my life, my daily life." (p.3)
I used to be an athlete. As a result, I'll always consider myself an athlete. I remember this feeling. I know this feeling. I, at times, miss this feeling.

When you are an athlete, and you are competing, there is no where else for your mind to be other than focused on the task at hand.

I often think back to that feeling that you get before the game. You are nervous. You are excited. You are focused. You experience a wide-range of emotions. You know what to expect, but you don't know what to expect exactly.
Photo courtesy of the Oregon Daily Emerald
And then the kickoff happens (or the tip-off, or the first patch, or the gun fires, etc.). And all of those feelings go away. You totally immerse yourself in the competition, in the action, in the moment.

In terms of school, I often think about how this relates. On my way to work, driving to school, I feel nervousness, excitement, and a sense of focus on my commute each day. I have a general idea of what to expect, each school day, but at the same time I know that whatever I'm expecting is never how the day actually ends-up playing-out.

But then it happens. Each day, I get to school, I get out of my car, and I walk into the building. The ball drops. We totally immerse ourselves in the situations as they are presented, and we just go. We just do it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Be There

I want to write more.
I want to tweet more.
I want to read more.
I want to plan for the upcoming school year more.
I want to connect with friends more.
I want to exercise more.
I want to spend more time with my family.
I want to be better.
I want to be great.

The above statements can be overwhelming at times.

However, I am quite effective when it comes to advising others to relax, slow down, practice patience, take one thing at a time, etc. I have to remember to do those same things for me. I have to practice what I preach.

And while I want to do all of those above listed things, and more, I can't do them all at once.

Last year, Hamish Brewer introduced me to the FiSH philosophy, for which I will forever be grateful. After reading the book, I instantly fell in love with it and it's principles - Be There, Play, Make Their Day, and Choose Your Attitude. This book and the message that it shares has been a game changer for me.

I think that I do a really good job of always choosing my attitude, appropriately. I've got some ideas and systems in place to accomplish Play and Make Their Day. It's being there where I sometimes struggle, both at home and school. At times, I can be guilty of spending too much time thinking about what has happened and/or too much time thinking about what's coming next. This is the area where I know I need to focus. This is the area where I want to focus.

Kris Bryant points to the ground in an effort to stay in the moment.
Photo via the Chicago Tribune
via Zoul's blog.
Fast forward a little while, and Jeff Zoul wrote a blog specific to the Be There principle titled Staying in the Moment. I love this post. And not only do I love this post because it appeals to my liking of sports and more specifically the Chicago Cubs, but it also serves up a strategy, a visual reminder for how we can remind ourselves and the company that we keep to Be There - to be present for each individual moment that we encounter.

This is an area of focus for me, personally, as the 2016-17 school year approaches. Having this awareness will help. Shining a light on this as something that I am working-on/need to work-on will force me to make efforts to improve.

Kids Deserve It tweeted the image pictured, below. I printed it, and it now hangs in my office as a reminder. I want to better. I want to be great. But I have to remember to Be There in each individual moment. Let go of what just happened, and don't worry so much about what's going to happen. Be There. Stay in each moment, fully present and fully engaged. My family deserves it. My staff deserves it. My students deserve it.