Tag: Celebrate

We all see things differently. That’s something I continue to learn as an educator and in every other area of life too. I used to get upset if someone expressed an idea I didn’t agree with. It would frustrate me to no end if they took a position that…

Read More The Importance of Accepting Different Perspectives



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More





As the school year winds down, what is your school doing to recognize students? It’s really common at this time of year to have awards programs to celebrate students for success and achievement. A problem with these types of programs is they tend to only recognize a certain kind of student.



Praising compliance, outstanding grades, and high achievement may be motivating for some, but may also lead to disengagement, resentment, and alienation for others. What kind of success are we celebrating?



I don’t want to send the message to our students that only a certain type of success or achievement is celebrated in our school. All of our students are valuable and make contributions in a variety of ways. 



And most importantly, I want to celebrate the process of growth and learning, and not just the outcomes. Students can’t always control the end result, but they can control the controllables, things like effort, enthusiasm, empathy, energy, and work ethic. It’s also important to recognize students for curiosity, creativity, and perseverance.



So we do our “awards” program differently.



Each teacher chooses one student to recognize at our end of school assembly. But the teacher selects the student based on whatever criteria they choose. It could be for effort, improvement, citizenship, school spirit, or just showing up well and having positive energy.









Some of the students who receive the award are the typical academic high flyers, but many are not. Many have probably never had their name called out in front of their peers, or their parents, to receive an award.



Each teacher says just a few words about why the student was selected. These stories are powerful for showing how we value students for more than just the grades they earn.



For some of our students, receiving an honor and affirmation like this could be pivotal. It could give them the spark of confidence and belief they needed at just the right time. It could inspire them to take on new challenges and set their sights higher.



Here are three reasons to recognize effort and growth over achievement and outcomes:



1. Avoid alienation.



By the time students arrive in high school, far too many believe the system of school won’t work for them. They are checked out. And no wonder. They’ve seen a certain type of student celebrated. They’ve built their identity around not being like those students, because they can’t measure up to those kids anyway, the ones who get all the awards. Personal growth isn’t even on their radar, and they don’t see that as the purpose of school anyway. To them, school expects quiet compliance, right answers, and perfect grades. That’s how you measure up. Recognizing progress and growth levels the playing field for all students.



2. Reinforce healthy attitudes about success.



It’s not healthy to get your sense of value or self-worth from achievements. For some, success is like a drug. They need more and more of it to get the same feeling. No matter how successful they are, in the end, it’s never enough. They are dependent on success to feel good about themselves, to feel secure. Any mistake or failure is almost unbearable. They feel threatened when others do well. Some of the most high performing students in your school may not be well-adjusted in this sense. It’s great to pursue excellence. But excellence is in the process of doing your very best, growing your strengths, and finding your purpose.



3. Encourage growth mindset.



A key finding of growth mindset was the recognition that praising effort was much more effective in motivating learning behaviors than praising fixed characteristics. The belief that I can grow my intelligence leads to better outcomes in the end. But the focus is on the process of growth, not the outcome. When we only recognize students for their achievements, we reinforce the fixed mindset. But when we recognize growth, we encourage all students to stretch themselves and strive to take on challenges. Success isn’t as important as progress in this system. And failure is only a temporary setback that provides an opportunity to learn and grow.



How is your school recognizing and celebrating students? Are you encouraging effort and growth over achievement and outcomes? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 3 Reasons to Recognize Effort and Growth Over Achievement and Outcomes





As the school year winds down, what is your school doing to recognize students? It’s really common at this time of year to have awards programs to celebrate students for success and achievement. A problem with these types of programs is they tend to only recognize a certain kind of student.



Praising compliance, outstanding grades, and high achievement may be motivating for some, but may also lead to disengagement, resentment, and alienation for others. What kind of success are we celebrating?



I don’t want to send the message to our students that only a certain type of success or achievement is celebrated in our school. All of our students are valuable and make contributions in a variety of ways. 



And most importantly, I want to celebrate the process of growth and learning, and not just the outcomes. Students can’t always control the end result, but they can control the controllables, things like effort, enthusiasm, empathy, energy, and work ethic. It’s also important to recognize students for curiosity, creativity, and perseverance.



So we do our “awards” program differently.



Each teacher chooses one student to recognize at our end of school assembly. But the teacher selects the student based on whatever criteria they choose. It could be for effort, improvement, citizenship, school spirit, or just showing up well and having positive energy.









Some of the students who receive the award are the typical academic high flyers, but many are not. Many have probably never had their name called out in front of their peers, or their parents, to receive an award.



Each teacher says just a few words about why the student was selected. These stories are powerful for showing how we value students for more than just the grades they earn.



For some of our students, receiving an honor and affirmation like this could be pivotal. It could give them the spark of confidence and belief they needed at just the right time. It could inspire them to take on new challenges and set their sights higher.



Here are three reasons to recognize effort and growth over achievement and outcomes:



1. Avoid alienation.



By the time students arrive in high school, far too many believe the system of school won’t work for them. They are checked out. And no wonder. They’ve seen a certain type of student celebrated. They’ve built their identity around not being like those students, because they can’t measure up to those kids anyway, the ones who get all the awards. Personal growth isn’t even on their radar, and they don’t see that as the purpose of school anyway. To them, school expects quiet compliance, right answers, and perfect grades. That’s how you measure up. Recognizing progress and growth levels the playing field for all students.



2. Reinforce healthy attitudes about success.



It’s not healthy to get your sense of value or self-worth from achievements. For some, success is like a drug. They need more and more of it to get the same feeling. No matter how successful they are, in the end, it’s never enough. They are dependent on success to feel good about themselves, to feel secure. Any mistake or failure is almost unbearable. They feel threatened when others do well. Some of the most high performing students in your school may not be well-adjusted in this sense. It’s great to pursue excellence. But excellence is in the process of doing your very best, growing your strengths, and finding your purpose.



3. Encourage growth mindset.



A key finding of growth mindset was the recognition that praising effort was much more effective in motivating learning behaviors than praising fixed characteristics. The belief that I can grow my intelligence leads to better outcomes in the end. But the focus is on the process of growth, not the outcome. When we only recognize students for their achievements, we reinforce the fixed mindset. But when we recognize growth, we encourage all students to stretch themselves and strive to take on challenges. Success isn’t as important as progress in this system. And failure is only a temporary setback that provides an opportunity to learn and grow.



How is your school recognizing and celebrating students? Are you encouraging effort and growth over achievement and outcomes? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 3 Reasons to Recognize Effort and Growth Over Achievement and Outcomes





As the school year winds down, what is your school doing to recognize students? It’s really common at this time of year to have awards programs to celebrate students for success and achievement. A problem with these types of programs is they tend to only recognize a certain kind of student.



Praising compliance, outstanding grades, and high achievement may be motivating for some, but may also lead to disengagement, resentment, and alienation for others. What kind of success are we celebrating?



I don’t want to send the message to our students that only a certain type of success or achievement is celebrated in our school. All of our students are valuable and make contributions in a variety of ways. 



And most importantly, I want to celebrate the process of growth and learning, and not just the outcomes. Students can’t always control the end result, but they can control the controllables, things like effort, enthusiasm, empathy, energy, and work ethic. It’s also important to recognize students for curiosity, creativity, and perseverance.



So we do our “awards” program differently.



Each teacher chooses one student to recognize at our end of school assembly. But the teacher selects the student based on whatever criteria they choose. It could be for effort, improvement, citizenship, school spirit, or just showing up well and having positive energy.









Some of the students who receive the award are the typical academic high flyers, but many are not. Many have probably never had their name called out in front of their peers, or their parents, to receive an award.



Each teacher says just a few words about why the student was selected. These stories are powerful for showing how we value students for more than just the grades they earn.



For some of our students, receiving an honor and affirmation like this could be pivotal. It could give them the spark of confidence and belief they needed at just the right time. It could inspire them to take on new challenges and set their sights higher.



Here are three reasons to recognize effort and growth over achievement and outcomes:



1. Avoid alienation.



By the time students arrive in high school, far too many believe the system of school won’t work for them. They are checked out. And no wonder. They’ve seen a certain type of student celebrated. They’ve built their identity around not being like those students, because they can’t measure up to those kids anyway, the ones who get all the awards. Personal growth isn’t even on their radar, and they don’t see that as the purpose of school anyway. To them, school expects quiet compliance, right answers, and perfect grades. That’s how you measure up. Recognizing progress and growth levels the playing field for all students.



2. Reinforce healthy attitudes about success.



It’s not healthy to get your sense of value or self-worth from achievements. For some, success is like a drug. They need more and more of it to get the same feeling. No matter how successful they are, in the end, it’s never enough. They are dependent on success to feel good about themselves, to feel secure. Any mistake or failure is almost unbearable. They feel threatened when others do well. Some of the most high performing students in your school may not be well-adjusted in this sense. It’s great to pursue excellence. But excellence is in the process of doing your very best, growing your strengths, and finding your purpose.



3. Encourage growth mindset.



A key finding of growth mindset was the recognition that praising effort was much more effective in motivating learning behaviors than praising fixed characteristics. The belief that I can grow my intelligence leads to better outcomes in the end. But the focus is on the process of growth, not the outcome. When we only recognize students for their achievements, we reinforce the fixed mindset. But when we recognize growth, we encourage all students to stretch themselves and strive to take on challenges. Success isn’t as important as progress in this system. And failure is only a temporary setback that provides an opportunity to learn and grow.



How is your school recognizing and celebrating students? Are you encouraging effort and growth over achievement and outcomes? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More 3 Reasons to Recognize Effort and Growth Over Achievement and Outcomes





As the school year winds down, what is your school doing to recognize students? It’s really common at this time of year to have awards programs to celebrate students for success and achievement. A problem with these types of programs is they tend to only recognize a certain kind of student.



Praising compliance, outstanding grades, and high achievement may be motivating for some, but may also lead to disengagement, resentment, and alienation for others. What kind of success are we celebrating?



I don’t want to send the message to our students that only a certain type of success or achievement is celebrated in our school. All of our students are valuable and make contributions in a variety of ways. 



And most importantly, I want to celebrate the process of growth and learning, and not just the outcomes. Students can’t always control the end result, but they can control the controllables, things like effort, enthusiasm, empathy, energy, and work ethic. It’s also important to recognize students for curiosity, creativity, and perseverance.



So we do our “awards” program differently.



Each teacher chooses one student to recognize at our end of school assembly. But the teacher selects the student based on whatever criteria they choose. It could be for effort, improvement, citizenship, school spirit, or just showing up well and having positive energy.









Some of the students who receive the award are the typical academic high flyers, but many are not. Many have probably never had their name called out in front of their peers, or their parents, to receive an award.



Each teacher says just a few words about why the student was selected. These stories are powerful for showing how we value students for more than just the grades they earn.



For some of our students, receiving an honor and affirmation like this could be pivotal. It could give them the spark of confidence and belief they needed at just the right time. It could inspire them to take on new challenges and set their sights higher.



Here are three reasons to recognize effort and growth over achievement and outcomes:



1. Avoid alienation.



By the time students arrive in high school, far too many believe the system of school won’t work for them. They are checked out. And no wonder. They’ve seen a certain type of student celebrated. They’ve built their identity around not being like those students, because they can’t measure up to those kids anyway, the ones who get all the awards. Personal growth isn’t even on their radar, and they don’t see that as the purpose of school anyway. To them, school expects quiet compliance, right answers, and perfect grades. That’s how you measure up. Recognizing progress and growth levels the playing field for all students.



2. Reinforce healthy attitudes about success.



It’s not healthy to get your sense of value or self-worth from achievements. For some, success is like a drug. They need more and more of it to get the same feeling. No matter how successful they are, in the end, it’s never enough. They are dependent on success to feel good about themselves, to feel secure. Any mistake or failure is almost unbearable. They feel threatened when others do well. Some of the most high performing students in your school may not be well-adjusted in this sense. It’s great to pursue excellence. But excellence is in the process of doing your very best, growing your strengths, and finding your purpose.



3. Encourage growth mindset.



A key finding of growth mindset was the recognition that praising effort was much more effective in motivating learning behaviors than praising fixed characteristics. The belief that I can grow my intelligence leads to better outcomes in the end. But the focus is on the process of growth, not the outcome. When we only recognize students for their achievements, we reinforce the fixed mindset. But when we recognize growth, we encourage all students to stretch themselves and strive to take on challenges. Success isn’t as important as progress in this system. And failure is only a temporary setback that provides an opportunity to learn and grow.



How is your school recognizing and celebrating students? Are you encouraging effort and growth over achievement and outcomes? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More 3 Reasons to Recognize Effort and Growth Over Achievement and Outcomes





This summer I heard Ron Clark speak and tell his story of how he became one of our nation’s most celebrated teachers and ultimately founded the Ron Clark Academy. It’s truly an inspiring story for educators. 



He came into education almost by accident. He was only going to teach temporarily until something better came along. But then he started to love it. And the kids loved him. And he was having unbelievable success, even with the most challenging students. He was setting very high expectations, and he was creating learning experiences that were irresistible.



And then the principal of the school came to him and said, “Why are you being so showy? You’re making the other teachers very uncomfortable.” 



He was getting fantastic results. He was bringing passion, enthusiasm, and energy to the classroom. Kids were learning. Kids were having fun learning. Test scores were skyrocketing. You would think everyone would want to replicate what Mr. Clark was doing, right? You would think they would want to learn from him, right?



Wrong.



Years ago, after I had given a suggestion to a teacher about a practice another teacher was using, I was surprised by the response.



“Oh, she runs circles around all of us.”



The teacher said this with a measure of envy and a touch of self-defeat. It seemed like she was saying she could never do that. I hadn’t intended there to be a comparison between the two teachers. I was just sharing that so-and-so tried this one practice and it seemed to work.



Average minds want other people to have average minds too. They feel threatened by the boldness and daring of those who want to do something great. How dare you try to be great? You’re making us look bad. You’re making me uncomfortable.



So what kind of dreams do you have? What kind of difference are you trying to make? If you want others to be comfortable and accepting of you, maybe you should keep those hopes and dreams just a little smaller.



When you dream big and want to do more, be prepared for opposition from mediocre minds. There will always be naysayers who want to protect the status quo. They want to retreat to average and aim for nothing greater.



But you are different. You have gifts that you want to use. Everyone has gifts if they are willing to take the risk of using them. You aren’t going to waste them. Don’t waste your gift! 



People may not always appreciate your gift, but don’t let that stop you from using it. Don’t let someone else keep you from pursuing excellence.



Find those people who will allow you to change, grow, develop, expand, and be great. Better yet, find those people who will challenge you and encourage you to be great. Be around people who lift you up and want to see you dream big. 



Keep dreaming big.



If you want to be a difference maker, you have to be a risk taker. Your students will reach their potential only if you are willing to unleash your own potential. It’s never a competition to be better than the teacher down the hall. Everyone has greatness in them. 



They should want to be great too! We want them to be great too!



We should all be pursuing greatness together, cheering each other on, celebrating each other’s successes, and learning from one another. 



That’s what we are ultimately pursuing. We want collective greatness. We want to create a school where excellence is everywhere. Not just pockets of excellence. We want a school where kids are experiencing learning that will literally change the course of their lives.



What can you do to further your dreams and help your school find collective greatness? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. Be great!

Read More What If We Aimed for Collective Greatness?





This summer I heard Ron Clark speak and tell his story of how he became one of our nation’s most celebrated teachers and ultimately founded the Ron Clark Academy. It’s truly an inspiring story for educators. 



He came into education almost by accident. He was only going to teach temporarily until something better came along. But then he started to love it. And the kids loved him. And he was having unbelievable success, even with the most challenging students. He was setting very high expectations, and he was creating learning experiences that were irresistible.



And then the principal of the school came to him and said, “Why are you being so showy? You’re making the other teachers very uncomfortable.” 



He was getting fantastic results. He was bringing passion, enthusiasm, and energy to the classroom. Kids were learning. Kids were having fun learning. Test scores were skyrocketing. You would think everyone would want to replicate what Mr. Clark was doing, right? You would think they would want to learn from him, right?



Wrong.



Years ago, after I had given a suggestion to a teacher about a practice another teacher was using, I was surprised by the response.



“Oh, she runs circles around all of us.”



The teacher said this with a measure of envy and a touch of self-defeat. It seemed like she was saying she could never do that. I hadn’t intended there to be a comparison between the two teachers. I was just sharing that so-and-so tried this one practice and it seemed to work.



Average minds want other people to have average minds too. They feel threatened by the boldness and daring of those who want to do something great. How dare you try to be great? You’re making us look bad. You’re making me uncomfortable.



So what kind of dreams do you have? What kind of difference are you trying to make? If you want others to be comfortable and accepting of you, maybe you should keep those hopes and dreams just a little smaller.



When you dream big and want to do more, be prepared for opposition from mediocre minds. There will always be naysayers who want to protect the status quo. They want to retreat to average and aim for nothing greater.



But you are different. You have gifts that you want to use. Everyone has gifts if they are willing to take the risk of using them. You aren’t going to waste them. Don’t waste your gift! 



People may not always appreciate your gift, but don’t let that stop you from using it. Don’t let someone else keep you from pursuing excellence.



Find those people who will allow you to change, grow, develop, expand, and be great. Better yet, find those people who will challenge you and encourage you to be great. Be around people who lift you up and want to see you dream big. 



Keep dreaming big.



If you want to be a difference maker, you have to be a risk taker. Your students will reach their potential only if you are willing to unleash your own potential. It’s never a competition to be better than the teacher down the hall. Everyone has greatness in them. 



They should want to be great too! We want them to be great too!



We should all be pursuing greatness together, cheering each other on, celebrating each other’s successes, and learning from one another. 



That’s what we are ultimately pursuing. We want collective greatness. We want to create a school where excellence is everywhere. Not just pockets of excellence. We want a school where kids are experiencing learning that will literally change the course of their lives.



What can you do to further your dreams and help your school find collective greatness? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. Be great!

Read More What If We Aimed for Collective Greatness?





Just last week we held commencement for the graduates of the Bolivar High School Class of 2017. I always like to provide a few words of encouragement for the graduates. But I also like to keep my remarks brief. I try to follow the public speaking advice of President Franklin Roosevelt who said, “Be sincere, be brief, and be seated.” My message this year was to always Get Up, Show Up, and Never Give Up! 

_________________

Something curious happens every year at Bolivar HS. There’s an outbreak of a mysterious illness. It’s symptoms include loss of energy, excessive sleep, lack of motivation, procrastination, apathy toward school work, excessive tardies, and in the worst cases truancy.

I see the affects of this peculiar illness and hear about it from students, teachers, and even parents. They say things like, “Dr. Geurin, I think maybe Garrett is suffering from a bad case of senioritis.” Yes, it’s the dreaded senioritis.

Class of 2017, by a show of hands, how many of you have felt the affects of senioritis this year?

Now here’s the real question, “Parents and teachers, how many of you have felt the affects of senioritis this year?”

It’s often thought the only cure for this terrible affliction is graduation. And here we are today. Without a doubt, graduation does greatly relieve the symptoms. But I’ve found there are often times in life where symptoms arise that are a lot like ‘senioritis.’ There are times you’re tired, you’re done, you feel like you just don’t care. You don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. 



We’ve all experienced that. So if graduation doesn’t cure your ‘senioritis’ permanently, here are a few ideas for overcoming it if you have an unfortunate relapse in the future. Here are three tips to overcome senioritis – Get Up, Show Up, and Never Give Up!

1. Get up 



Attack each day with enthusiasm. Bring great energy, excitement, and passion to whatever you do. A perfect example from the Class of 2017 is Doug. He never failed to bring a ton of energy and excitement to BHS. Okay, so a few times there was a little TOO much energy from Doug. Maybe that had something to do with that Good Morning ringtone we heard about a million times.

2. Show up!



Show up each day with a great attitude in every situation. An important part of success is being fully present. It’s being consistent. People can count on you. It’s showing up every day. Cal Ripken, Jr. did it in baseball. He played in 2,632 consecutive MLB games. He was nicknamed The Iron Man. But BHS has it’s own Iron Man. One member of the class of 2017 has gone from Kindergarten thru his Senior year with missing a single day of school. That is an amazing feat. I’d like for Jose Hernandez to stand so we can give him a hand for this incredible accomplishment.

3. Never Give Up



Here you are today. You didn’t give up. Senioritis may have tried to bring you down, but you didn’t let it get the best of you. And even when you didn’t win every time, like at float building for instance, new opportunities always came along. You are Polk County grinders. You are Liberators. You know how to take on a challenge. Success is NOT about never getting knocked down. It’s about getting back up every time.

So when ‘senioritis’ strikes again in the future, know that you are well-prepared to fight it off. You know how to persevere and finish strong. And remember you’re not alone. You’re part of a very important and select group of people, the Bolivar HS Class of 2017. You’ve left a strong legacy here!

Part of that legacy is incredible achievement. The Class of 2017 has earned so far, nearly $2.9 million dollars in scholarships. That sets a new record topping the previous mark by over $600,000.



Class of 2017, I am very proud of you and your accomplishments and it’s been truly an honor to know you and be a part of your high school years. I wish you the best. I believe in you. I know you’ll do great things. You’ll be world changers! God bless you all!

Read More Get Up, Show Up, Never Give Up





Just last week we held commencement for the graduates of the Bolivar High School Class of 2017. I always like to provide a few words of encouragement for the graduates. But I also like to keep my remarks brief. I try to follow the public speaking advice of President Franklin Roosevelt who said, “Be sincere, be brief, and be seated.” My message this year was to always Get Up, Show Up, and Never Give Up! 

_________________

Something curious happens every year at Bolivar HS. There’s an outbreak of a mysterious illness. It’s symptoms include loss of energy, excessive sleep, lack of motivation, procrastination, apathy toward school work, excessive tardies, and in the worst cases truancy.

I see the affects of this peculiar illness and hear about it from students, teachers, and even parents. They say things like, “Dr. Geurin, I think maybe Garrett is suffering from a bad case of senioritis.” Yes, it’s the dreaded senioritis.

Class of 2017, by a show of hands, how many of you have felt the affects of senioritis this year?

Now here’s the real question, “Parents and teachers, how many of you have felt the affects of senioritis this year?”

It’s often thought the only cure for this terrible affliction is graduation. And here we are today. Without a doubt, graduation does greatly relieve the symptoms. But I’ve found there are often times in life where symptoms arise that are a lot like ‘senioritis.’ There are times you’re tired, you’re done, you feel like you just don’t care. You don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. 



We’ve all experienced that. So if graduation doesn’t cure your ‘senioritis’ permanently, here are a few ideas for overcoming it if you have an unfortunate relapse in the future. Here are three tips to overcome senioritis – Get Up, Show Up, and Never Give Up!

1. Get up 



Attack each day with enthusiasm. Bring great energy, excitement, and passion to whatever you do. A perfect example from the Class of 2017 is Doug. He never failed to bring a ton of energy and excitement to BHS. Okay, so a few times there was a little TOO much energy from Doug. Maybe that had something to do with that Good Morning ringtone we heard about a million times.

2. Show up!



Show up each day with a great attitude in every situation. An important part of success is being fully present. It’s being consistent. People can count on you. It’s showing up every day. Cal Ripken, Jr. did it in baseball. He played in 2,632 consecutive MLB games. He was nicknamed The Iron Man. But BHS has it’s own Iron Man. One member of the class of 2017 has gone from Kindergarten thru his Senior year with missing a single day of school. That is an amazing feat. I’d like for Jose Hernandez to stand so we can give him a hand for this incredible accomplishment.

3. Never Give Up



Here you are today. You didn’t give up. Senioritis may have tried to bring you down, but you didn’t let it get the best of you. And even when you didn’t win every time, like at float building for instance, new opportunities always came along. You are Polk County grinders. You are Liberators. You know how to take on a challenge. Success is NOT about never getting knocked down. It’s about getting back up every time.

So when ‘senioritis’ strikes again in the future, know that you are well-prepared to fight it off. You know how to persevere and finish strong. And remember you’re not alone. You’re part of a very important and select group of people, the Bolivar HS Class of 2017. You’ve left a strong legacy here!

Part of that legacy is incredible achievement. The Class of 2017 has earned so far, nearly $2.9 million dollars in scholarships. That sets a new record topping the previous mark by over $600,000.



Class of 2017, I am very proud of you and your accomplishments and it’s been truly an honor to know you and be a part of your high school years. I wish you the best. I believe in you. I know you’ll do great things. You’ll be world changers! God bless you all!

Read More Get Up, Show Up, Never Give Up

Retrieved: http://www.inspirationalhunter.com/maya-angelou-quotes/



Sometimes when I reflect back to my nine years teaching English and social studies, I feel a little sad for the experience I provided my students. The same goes for my coaching. I was named our high school’s head basketball coach at 25-years-old, just two years out of college. When I think back now to some of the things I did, or didn’t do, it makes me want to drop my head. 



Even at the time, I often struggled with my confidence that I was doing a good job, especially in the first few years. I think I felt a little on edge nearly all the time. I was often stressed, but I really didn’t talk much about it with anyone, not even with my wife, Lori. Sometime I even felt trapped. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” I thought, but I didn’t know what else I would do either.



Things really started to change for the better when I went back to get my Master’s degree. I didn’t really want to be a principal at that time. I figured you needed to have teaching figured out to do that. But I knew I needed to do something different. The graduate classes helped me see things from a different perspective, and the connections I made provided support for my growth.



Even though I improved during those teaching years, I sometimes wish I could start over and know what I know now. I would do so many things differently. My classroom would be a completely different place. My coaching would have a different focus. I think I would enjoy the journey a whole lot more.



In just the past couple of weeks, I’ve had different connections with several of my former students. We live about an hour away, so that doesn’t normally happen too often. 



A former player was visiting our church with her family. Her husband’s family lives in Bolivar. It was great to see her just for a few minutes.



Then I saw a former student at a restaurant where he was working. He’s a manager there. I honestly didn’t remember him. But we chatted for a few minutes. He shared a little about his family and said he really enjoyed my class. That meant a lot.



Another former student is now an English teacher in the same school where I taught. She returned to her home school after graduating. She was extremely bright and conscientious. I’m sure she must be an outstanding teacher. She messaged me through Facebook, because she came across one of my quotes that Edutopia had posted. I was happy she reached out to me.







And then last night, one of my favorite former players, who is now the head football coach at Southwest Baptist University, here in Bolivar, led his team to a thrilling comeback win. The Bearcats are now 3-0. I can’t even express how much I enjoy seeing him be successful. I messaged him to congratulate him. He still calls me coach when I see him, which is about the greatest thing ever.

SBU Football Takes Down Defending GLVC Champion Indianapolis 41-37 https://t.co/wa6WOw25tF

— SBU Athletics (@sbubearcats) September 18, 2016



I have to remind myself that during those early years, just like now, I was doing the best I could with the information I had at the time. And when I see my former students doing well, it makes me feel very proud. And not because I was a huge influence in their lives. Like I said before, I think I would be so much more if I could do it again. But I still feel that connection. I’m proud of them and thankful that I had the privilege of working with each and every student.



Yesterday, we held our Bolivar HS Alumni Hall of Fame induction luncheon. There were three honorees this year. As they told their stories about their school years, it was obvious the gratitude they had for their school and the teachers who worked with them. These individuals are incredibly successful in their careers and very active in their communities.




One of the inductees, in particular, shared how teacher after teacher had impacted his life. When he spoke of his high school football coach, he was choked up and had to pause. He remembered each one by name and described the specific impact they had on his life. Several of these former teachers were among the guests at the event. None of the lessons had much to do with academic content by the way. But he named the character traits each one modeled for him. And how he took those lessons into his life and has tried to convey them to his own daughters.



As I listened, I got a little choked up myself. I thought of the impact that teachers have on the lives of kids and the influence my teachers had on me. It’s the greatest profession in the world. I thought of how I wish every teacher could hear his words as he thanked his teachers with such sincerity. It was such a reminder about the value of relationships. 



It was also a reminder of the incredible impact you have on the lives of your students. Even if you feel you don’t measure up, or maybe this isn’t for you, always remember your legacy is not about doing everything perfectly. It’s not about having it all figured out. Just be the best version of you. Show up well each day and try your best. Keep growing and learning. Invest in the lives of your students. And never underestimate your influence.



Questions: How do you look back at your teaching legacy so far? Are you too hard on yourself? How can you do your best today to invest in students? Please leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.  



Read More Never Underestimate Your Influence

Retrieved: http://www.inspirationalhunter.com/maya-angelou-quotes/



Sometimes when I reflect back to my nine years teaching English and social studies, I feel a little sad for the experience I provided my students. The same goes for my coaching. I was named our high school’s head basketball coach at 25-years-old, just two years out of college. When I think back now to some of the things I did, or didn’t do, it makes me want to drop my head. 



Even at the time, I often struggled with my confidence that I was doing a good job, especially in the first few years. I think I felt a little on edge nearly all the time. I was often stressed, but I really didn’t talk much about it with anyone, not even with my wife, Lori. Sometime I even felt trapped. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” I thought, but I didn’t know what else I would do either.



Things really started to change for the better when I went back to get my Master’s degree. I didn’t really want to be a principal at that time. I figured you needed to have teaching figured out to do that. But I knew I needed to do something different. The graduate classes helped me see things from a different perspective, and the connections I made provided support for my growth.



Even though I improved during those teaching years, I sometimes wish I could start over and know what I know now. I would do so many things differently. My classroom would be a completely different place. My coaching would have a different focus. I think I would enjoy the journey a whole lot more.



In just the past couple of weeks, I’ve had different connections with several of my former students. We live about an hour away, so that doesn’t normally happen too often. 



A former player was visiting our church with her family. Her husband’s family lives in Bolivar. It was great to see her just for a few minutes.



Then I saw a former student at a restaurant where he was working. He’s a manager there. I honestly didn’t remember him. But we chatted for a few minutes. He shared a little about his family and said he really enjoyed my class. That meant a lot.



Another former student is now an English teacher in the same school where I taught. She returned to her home school after graduating. She was extremely bright and conscientious. I’m sure she must be an outstanding teacher. She messaged me through Facebook, because she came across one of my quotes that Edutopia had posted. I was happy she reached out to me.







And then last night, one of my favorite former players, who is now the head football coach at Southwest Baptist University, here in Bolivar, led his team to a thrilling comeback win. The Bearcats are now 3-0. I can’t even express how much I enjoy seeing him be successful. I messaged him to congratulate him. He still calls me coach when I see him, which is about the greatest thing ever.

SBU Football Takes Down Defending GLVC Champion Indianapolis 41-37 https://t.co/wa6WOw25tF

— SBU Athletics (@sbubearcats) September 18, 2016



I have to remind myself that during those early years, just like now, I was doing the best I could with the information I had at the time. And when I see my former students doing well, it makes me feel very proud. And not because I was a huge influence in their lives. Like I said before, I think I would be so much more if I could do it again. But I still feel that connection. I’m proud of them and thankful that I had the privilege of working with each and every student.



Yesterday, we held our Bolivar HS Alumni Hall of Fame induction luncheon. There were three honorees this year. As they told their stories about their school years, it was obvious the gratitude they had for their school and the teachers who worked with them. These individuals are incredibly successful in their careers and very active in their communities.




One of the inductees, in particular, shared how teacher after teacher had impacted his life. When he spoke of his high school football coach, he was choked up and had to pause. He remembered each one by name and described the specific impact they had on his life. Several of these former teachers were among the guests at the event. None of the lessons had much to do with academic content by the way. But he named the character traits each one modeled for him. And how he took those lessons into his life and has tried to convey them to his own daughters.



As I listened, I got a little choked up myself. I thought of the impact that teachers have on the lives of kids and the influence my teachers had on me. It’s the greatest profession in the world. I thought of how I wish every teacher could hear his words as he thanked his teachers with such sincerity. It was such a reminder about the value of relationships. 



It was also a reminder of the incredible impact you have on the lives of your students. Even if you feel you don’t measure up, or maybe this isn’t for you, always remember your legacy is not about doing everything perfectly. It’s not about having it all figured out. Just be the best version of you. Show up well each day and try your best. Keep growing and learning. Invest in the lives of your students. And never underestimate your influence.



Questions: How do you look back at your teaching legacy so far? Are you too hard on yourself? How can you do your best today to invest in students? Please leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.  



Read More Never Underestimate Your Influence



The days of summer will soon give way to the start of a new school year. For teachers, the end of summer can be met with mixed emotions. Even the most passionate educators can be reluctant to give up the freedom and flexibility of summer break. But it’s also a great time to get excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. It’s GO-TIME!!!



As you gear up for back-to-school, here are seven reasons to be enthusiastic about the new school year.





1. Making New Friends



One of the most exciting things about the start of a new school year is the chance to meet new people and welcome them into your school. It’s a privilege to get to know new staff members and students. And it’s a great opportunity to share with them all the things that make your school great. It’s also a great opportunity to find ways they can contribute to making your school even stronger.



Remember that being new can be terrifying. Offer your support. Be sure to send the message loud and clear to everyone new to your school, “We’re glad you’re here.”



2. Reconnecting with Old Friends



I also look forward to seeing everyone who is returning. Over the years, we build increasingly strong bonds with the people we work with. It’s great to hear about their exciting adventures of summer and begin to share in the daily life of school again. I can’t wait to see all the smiles and feel the energy as we come together again to help kids.



Keep in mind that returning to school can be especially difficult in certain seasons of life. I am always reminded that a word of encouragement or act of kindness can go a long way to making the new school year better for someone going through a difficult time.



3. Making a Difference 



For some students, summer hasn’t been that great. They’ve had struggles, turmoil, maybe even hunger. Returning to school won’t solve all their problems, but it will provide a chance for educators to make a difference. No matter what their summer was like, your students are counting on you now. They need to know how much you care. They need you to love them, listen to them, and to never give up on them.



Your work as a teacher makes a difference in the lives of young people. That’s a great reason to get excited about the start of the school year! 



4. Fulfilling Your Purpose



It’s great to enjoy the wonderful time away from school during summer break. Good teaching is demanding in so many ways. We need time to recharge. But there is something about doing what you are meant to do, even when it’s hard. The start of the school year is a great time to reflect on why you started in the first place. Why did you become a teacher? How will you make a positive impact this year?



When you have passion and purpose for your students and your teaching, you won’t have too much trouble being excited for the new school year.



5. New Beginnings



When I reflect on a previous school year, there are always things I wish had gone differently. I see areas I need to improve, and things I want to change. The start of the school year is a brand new thing. It’s a fresh start.



There’s something about the cyclical nature of school that lends itself to making adjustments based on last year to continue to make things better for learning. But the key is to reflect and set goals during the summer, so that you’re ready to adjust and adapt this year.  



6. New Opportunities to Grow



Positive people grow. Happy people grow. Healthy people grow. The new school year will not doubt present challenges that will help us grow if we choose to allow growth to happen. I believe growth is an essential part of being fulfilled in our lives. We can’t stay the same or even have stagnant growth and expect to have a healthy and happy life. And for certain, we won’t make much of an impact on others if we aren’t willing to grow.



I know some people dread the start of school because they feel that they are going to face challenges that are really difficult for them. Some struggle more with difficult students. Some struggle to keep up with paperwork or grading. Clearly, some struggle to get through the school day more than others. I think most of that is related to attitude.



If we welcome the challenges and view them as a way to grow, it changes everything. If we invite hard things into our lives, it makes us stronger. Rarely do I see an unhappy teacher who also regularly takes on new challenges. Usually, the most unhappy people in your school are the ones who are most protective of their time and their comfort.



So I think a GREAT reason to get excited about a new school year is that it’s a GREAT opportunity to grow. What would your school be like if every educator had a growth mindset?



7. Believe in Amazing Possibilities



I’m excited about the new school year because I believe this will be the best school year ever. I’m excited about the work our school is doing. I believe we are moving in a positive direction. I see a tipping point happening, where we will see learners empowered in ways we’ve envisioned. 



Your classroom has amazing possibilities too. Students will learn more about who they are. They will learn and grow and become more confident and independent learners. Commit yourself to the idea that great things are going to happen this year. Focus on the positive. Who knows what incredible things will happen this year in the life of your school?



Questions: What gets you excited about a new school year? What are you anticipating? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a message below or respond on Twitter or Facebook. Here we grow!

Read More 7 Reasons for Teachers to Be Enthusiastic About a New School Year



The days of summer will soon give way to the start of a new school year. For teachers, the end of summer can be met with mixed emotions. Even the most passionate educators can be reluctant to give up the freedom and flexibility of summer break. But it’s also a great time to get excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. It’s GO-TIME!!!



As you gear up for back-to-school, here are seven reasons to be enthusiastic about the new school year.





1. Making New Friends



One of the most exciting things about the start of a new school year is the chance to meet new people and welcome them into your school. It’s a privilege to get to know new staff members and students. And it’s a great opportunity to share with them all the things that make your school great. It’s also a great opportunity to find ways they can contribute to making your school even stronger.



Remember that being new can be terrifying. Offer your support. Be sure to send the message loud and clear to everyone new to your school, “We’re glad you’re here.”



2. Reconnecting with Old Friends



I also look forward to seeing everyone who is returning. Over the years, we build increasingly strong bonds with the people we work with. It’s great to hear about their exciting adventures of summer and begin to share in the daily life of school again. I can’t wait to see all the smiles and feel the energy as we come together again to help kids.



Keep in mind that returning to school can be especially difficult in certain seasons of life. I am always reminded that a word of encouragement or act of kindness can go a long way to making the new school year better for someone going through a difficult time.



3. Making a Difference 



For some students, summer hasn’t been that great. They’ve had struggles, turmoil, maybe even hunger. Returning to school won’t solve all their problems, but it will provide a chance for educators to make a difference. No matter what their summer was like, your students are counting on you now. They need to know how much you care. They need you to love them, listen to them, and to never give up on them.



Your work as a teacher makes a difference in the lives of young people. That’s a great reason to get excited about the start of the school year! 



4. Fulfilling Your Purpose



It’s great to enjoy the wonderful time away from school during summer break. Good teaching is demanding in so many ways. We need time to recharge. But there is something about doing what you are meant to do, even when it’s hard. The start of the school year is a great time to reflect on why you started in the first place. Why did you become a teacher? How will you make a positive impact this year?



When you have passion and purpose for your students and your teaching, you won’t have too much trouble being excited for the new school year.



5. New Beginnings



When I reflect on a previous school year, there are always things I wish had gone differently. I see areas I need to improve, and things I want to change. The start of the school year is a brand new thing. It’s a fresh start.



There’s something about the cyclical nature of school that lends itself to making adjustments based on last year to continue to make things better for learning. But the key is to reflect and set goals during the summer, so that you’re ready to adjust and adapt this year.  



6. New Opportunities to Grow



Positive people grow. Happy people grow. Healthy people grow. The new school year will not doubt present challenges that will help us grow if we choose to allow growth to happen. I believe growth is an essential part of being fulfilled in our lives. We can’t stay the same or even have stagnant growth and expect to have a healthy and happy life. And for certain, we won’t make much of an impact on others if we aren’t willing to grow.



I know some people dread the start of school because they feel that they are going to face challenges that are really difficult for them. Some struggle more with difficult students. Some struggle to keep up with paperwork or grading. Clearly, some struggle to get through the school day more than others. I think most of that is related to attitude.



If we welcome the challenges and view them as a way to grow, it changes everything. If we invite hard things into our lives, it makes us stronger. Rarely do I see an unhappy teacher who also regularly takes on new challenges. Usually, the most unhappy people in your school are the ones who are most protective of their time and their comfort.



So I think a GREAT reason to get excited about a new school year is that it’s a GREAT opportunity to grow. What would your school be like if every educator had a growth mindset?



7. Believe in Amazing Possibilities



I’m excited about the new school year because I believe this will be the best school year ever. I’m excited about the work our school is doing. I believe we are moving in a positive direction. I see a tipping point happening, where we will see learners empowered in ways we’ve envisioned. 



Your classroom has amazing possibilities too. Students will learn more about who they are. They will learn and grow and become more confident and independent learners. Commit yourself to the idea that great things are going to happen this year. Focus on the positive. Who knows what incredible things will happen this year in the life of your school?



Questions: What gets you excited about a new school year? What are you anticipating? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a message below or respond on Twitter or Facebook. Here we grow!

Read More 7 Reasons for Teachers to Be Enthusiastic About a New School Year

Elevator selfie while waiting for rescue!

Sunday we held our Commencement ceremony for 205 Bolivar Liberator graduates. It was a great day, and I’m so thankful for all the teamwork that makes an event like this a success. I am truly surrounded by rock stars!



It was an extra special graduation day for me. My son Cooper received his diploma. I had the great honor of presenting it to him. He plans to attend Southwest Baptist University next year to study computer science. I’m a proud dad!


You might notice in the picture I am wearing an abundance of beads and Hawaiian leis. The graduating class usually gets me a little gift that each person hands me as they make their way to receive the diploma. This year I was all decked out.



During this year’s Senior Trip to NYC and Washington, DC, there was some unexpected excitement. A group of us were stuck in an elevator for 45 minutes. It was the inspiration for my message to this year’s class:



It’s customary for graduation speakers to bestow some parting wisdom on the graduating class. I would like to do that today so I created a short list: 5 Life-Changing Lessons from Being Stuck on an Elevator…in New York City…on Senior Trip.



1. Keep Good Company



Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. You don’t want to be stuck on a hot, crowded elevator with negative people. You want people who believe rescue is possible and who can smile and face adversity with a good attitude, people who suggest things like ordering out a pizza or taking a selfie.



2. Be Problem Solvers



Work the problem. You start pushing various buttons on the panel, you bang on the door, you use the intercom to call for help. 



“We’re stuck in the elevator?” 



“Okay, we can help.”



“How many are in there?” 



“14” 



“Seriously, how many?”



Sheepishly, “Really, there’s 14 people in here.” 



But you don’t give up. You collaborate with your team to suggest ideas, “Maybe we could crawl out the ceiling, like in Die Hard?” 



For the record, I vetoed that idea. Or if you can’t solve the problem, you bring along expert help, like the New York City Fire Department.



3. Be Careful of Shortcuts



When you’re on the tenth floor and you’re tired and hungry you might be tempted to try to squeeze into a crowded, creaky elevator. But sometimes the easy way is not the best way. Give that extra effort. Take the stairs. Show a little more patience. Wait for the next elevator. When 12 high school students tell you there’s plenty of room, don’t listen!!!



4. Have Courage



Don’t let fear take over. Your mind starts racing, “What if no one hears our call for help? What if the cable breaks? What if we suffocate? What if we miss dinner? What if I need to go to the bathroom?” 



I was recently reading that Jesus’s most repeated command was to not be afraid. It’s mentioned over and over in the New Testament. There is a way to live a life of hope and faith where fear is not in control.



5. Make Plans but Be Willing to Adjust 



We like to try to plan life and have it work out just the way we want. We want things to go as expected. But then you get stuck in an elevator. That can be scary. But you have to adjust and keep believing in your dreams. Many of you have big plans for after high school. Some of you aren’t sure what you want yet. 



But I hope as a result of your time at BHS, you know yourself a little better, you’re a better problem-solver, and you can adapt to the challenges life throws at you. You may get stuck in an elevator now and then, but you can handle just about anything because you won’t give up.



And one bonus piece of advice – very important – use a high quality deodorant. If you’re ever stuck in an elevator, everyone will thank you.



Good luck and blessings to the Class of 2016!!! #ProudPrincipal

      

Read More 5 Life-Changing Lessons from Being Stuck on an Elevator…in New York City…on Senior Trip

Elevator selfie while waiting for rescue!

Sunday we held our Commencement ceremony for 205 Bolivar Liberator graduates. It was a great day, and I’m so thankful for all the teamwork that makes an event like this a success. I am truly surrounded by rock stars!



It was an extra special graduation day for me. My son Cooper received his diploma. I had the great honor of presenting it to him. He plans to attend Southwest Baptist University next year to study computer science. I’m a proud dad!


You might notice in the picture I am wearing an abundance of beads and Hawaiian leis. The graduating class usually gets me a little gift that each person hands me as they make their way to receive the diploma. This year I was all decked out.



During this year’s Senior Trip to NYC and Washington, DC, there was some unexpected excitement. A group of us were stuck in an elevator for 45 minutes. It was the inspiration for my message to this year’s class:



It’s customary for graduation speakers to bestow some parting wisdom on the graduating class. I would like to do that today so I created a short list: 5 Life-Changing Lessons from Being Stuck on an Elevator…in New York City…on Senior Trip.



1. Keep Good Company



Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. You don’t want to be stuck on a hot, crowded elevator with negative people. You want people who believe rescue is possible and who can smile and face adversity with a good attitude, people who suggest things like ordering out a pizza or taking a selfie.



2. Be Problem Solvers



Work the problem. You start pushing various buttons on the panel, you bang on the door, you use the intercom to call for help. 



“We’re stuck in the elevator?” 



“Okay, we can help.”



“How many are in there?” 



“14” 



“Seriously, how many?”



Sheepishly, “Really, there’s 14 people in here.” 



But you don’t give up. You collaborate with your team to suggest ideas, “Maybe we could crawl out the ceiling, like in Die Hard?” 



For the record, I vetoed that idea. Or if you can’t solve the problem, you bring along expert help, like the New York City Fire Department.



3. Be Careful of Shortcuts



When you’re on the tenth floor and you’re tired and hungry you might be tempted to try to squeeze into a crowded, creaky elevator. But sometimes the easy way is not the best way. Give that extra effort. Take the stairs. Show a little more patience. Wait for the next elevator. When 12 high school students tell you there’s plenty of room, don’t listen!!!



4. Have Courage



Don’t let fear take over. Your mind starts racing, “What if no one hears our call for help? What if the cable breaks? What if we suffocate? What if we miss dinner? What if I need to go to the bathroom?” 



I was recently reading that Jesus’s most repeated command was to not be afraid. It’s mentioned over and over in the New Testament. There is a way to live a life of hope and faith where fear is not in control.



5. Make Plans but Be Willing to Adjust 



We like to try to plan life and have it work out just the way we want. We want things to go as expected. But then you get stuck in an elevator. That can be scary. But you have to adjust and keep believing in your dreams. Many of you have big plans for after high school. Some of you aren’t sure what you want yet. 



But I hope as a result of your time at BHS, you know yourself a little better, you’re a better problem-solver, and you can adapt to the challenges life throws at you. You may get stuck in an elevator now and then, but you can handle just about anything because you won’t give up.



And one bonus piece of advice – very important – use a high quality deodorant. If you’re ever stuck in an elevator, everyone will thank you.



Good luck and blessings to the Class of 2016!!! #ProudPrincipal

      

Read More 5 Life-Changing Lessons from Being Stuck on an Elevator…in New York City…on Senior Trip