Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Desire to be the Best

Last week, 30 year old Dylan Armstrong from Kamloops, B.C. won silver in shot put at the world track and field championship in South Korea. Four years ago, Armstrong finished fourth, missing a chance for a medal by less than one centimeter.

____ That’s what his disappointment looked like for the medal-hopeful. So small, yet so incredibly huge.

But this year, more determined than ever, Armstrong sat down with his coach as he set this year’s goal: to be better than anyone in the world.

          "It's always motivation to be that close,” states Armstrong. “There's nothing that I could have done better, I put everything on the line. I prepared, I had a Canadian record, it just played out that I got fourth and lost by a centimetre," he said. "I'm going to do whatever I can not to let it happen again." – CBC Sports

What motivates Dylan Armstrong to put in countless hours to be the best? What drives him to continue to work for four more years after losing by a distance smaller than his pinky finger?

     Certainly not money… Canadian Olympic hopefuls are not living the high-life by any means!
     Is it the thrill of the win?
     Or the inner satisfaction that comes when a personal goal has been reached?

Armstrong has set the highest possible goal in the sporting world - to be the best in the world. Undoubtedly, he sacrifices much as he strives to reach his ultimate goal.

He certainly doesn’t sit still for long in his quest for the top. Following his win, Armstrong was already looking ahead: “I won’t take time off. I have to train tomorrow, and the objective is a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.” (Globe and Mail)

Like Armstrong, we, as educators, are dedicated. We spend countless hours, both in and out of the school, to provide quality learning opportunities to the many students who pass through our classrooms. We believe in the same ideals as Armstrong: perseverance, commitment, “heart”. Although there are no podiums, shiny medals, or thunderous applause, we know that we make a difference in students’ lives. And that’s enough.

As teachers, we are also goal-setters. Our goals are directly influenced by our motivation to improve teaching methods and classroom practices.

So this fall, as we prepare to develop our professional goals, let’s use Dylan Armstrong’s personal quest to help each of us reach for the top.

• What is your goal for the upcoming year?
• What motivates you to be a better teacher?
• How will you strive to be the best you can be this school year?
• What will you need to do to reach that goal?

For more information on motivation, check out Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. For a summary of his ideas, watch a quick Youtube video called Drive.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Intentions

"A garden requires patient labor and attention.
Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions.
They thrive because someone expended effort on them."
- Liberty Hyde Bailey

This afternoon, I finished writing my Smart Goal for the upcoming school year. It's no surprise that technology is involved! But I really want to commit to sharing through this blog. In looking back at my last post, I see that I had some really good intentions, but here we are, eight months later, and I am finally posting again!

This is common - I start the school year with so many dreams, ideas, hopes ... and then, I fizzle out. Usually it is gradual and I am not even aware that it is happening. But, when I look back, I see all those failed ambitions, those unreached goals, I am embarrassed by all of those good, yet unfulfilled intentions.

Has the same thing happened to you? Good intentions at the beginning of the year that are rarely realized? So, how can we prevent this from happening this school year?

Steven Covey's book, The 7 Habits of highly Effective People, seems like a great place to start. Here is my abbreviated version of the 7 Habits to help us this year:

1 - Be Proactive: Focus on the things that we can change. Let's agree to not waste time on the things that are out of our control.

2 - Begin with the End in Mind: Make a plan for what we want to accomplish this year and plan how to get there. I am going to set aside specific time in my day planner to work on my Smart Goal and my professional learning for the year. How will you plan to meet your goal?

3 - Put Things First: Set priorities and realize that not doing everything is okay. I like to call this "baby steps"! We are going to burn out if we try and do everything!

4 - Think Win! Win!: Cooperation works better than competition, especially in this profession! I love this idea of collaboration and team-work and hope that the wikis really take off this year. There is so much potential for us to work smarter, not harder!

5 - Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood: Learn to really listen. I recently heard someone refer to most conversations as "dueling monologues".  I think about the students who sit in classrooms for hours, listening to us, listening to others. It seems like a good idea to practice our own listening skills if we expect our students to do this. I know we can do it!

6 - Synergize: "Two heads are better than one." We have a perfect opportunity with renewed curriculum to form teaching teams and tackle tasks together! (This is really why I love my job. I get to do this every day!)

7 - Sharpen the Saw: Finding balance keeps us fresh. We all need to find the home-work balance and take time to enjoy life. I would highly recommend The Book of Awesome as a night time reading. It really helps define "awesomeness" and how to take a moment of pleasure in the simplest of things.

Through this blog, I look forward to sharing technologies that you can use to enhance your classroom. I also hope that you will take the time to comment and engage in conversations with other educators about the topics that pop up here.

Welcome to the new school year, to our new start, to our committment to good intentions ~

- Jade

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year and a New Plan

So I have been reading The Pioneer Woman's blog (http://thepioneerwoman.com/) and have sort of caught the blog fever again. Obviously, I have not posted for a looooong time, but here we go again!

My goal is to post some neat things related to my job and use this to share with other educators.

Here are a couple of things I have come across lately:
1. Hands-On Science Series - a Manitoba publication that fits with the Pan Canadian Protocol. This matches our Saskatchewan Science curriculum for Grades 1-5. I plan to do some more curriculum matching to make sure the outcomes and indicators. Will keep you posted (ha ha - get it??) Never mind ...

2. www.smories.comSo cute! This site features students reading stories through video. I want to do something with this!!!
Any takers???

That's all for now ...