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

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