Originally posted 2.11.17
When I graduated from high school I wanted to be an author. Though my life has gone in a different direction, I make the time to write my staff weekly. This is a priority to me because I think it's important to convey best practices, share ideas, and communicate things that I'm learning and thinking about.
With that in mind, I always start the year with the same letter. Although the year began weeks ago, the message in this letter is still one that means a lot to me, so I thought I would start with this one. . .Let me know what you think!
Denis Waitley said, “One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it,” so I’m going to ask you to focus your attention on one person.
If you could read with your eyes shut, I’d ask you to close your eyes and picture a child who you really care about. For those of us who are parents, this is easy. For those of you who are not, I’m sure you can envision a niece, nephew, former/current student, or even yourself as a child. Now, I want you to think about how special this person really is. Think about that person’s smile when you tell him/her how much you love them. Imagine his/her excitement when you praise him/her for doing a good job. Picture his/her relief when you have reassured him/her that everything is okay because s/he got scared. Have you got that in your head?
Okay. Now, I want you think about that person being in your classroom for every lesson, every day. I want you to talk to every student like that student was that child. I want you teach like that child was the one who was on the other side of the desk. I want you to plan like that child, who you know and care so much about will be the recipient of all your hard work. Though the child you were thinking of is probably not physically in the classroom, the chances are that there is someone who cares about our students as much as we care about the child you had in mind. And, if we have students who are not cared about as much as that by someone in their family, then it is our job to make them feel that from us.
So, if you don’t already have a picture of the person who you were just thinking of in your room, I hope that you bring one in. I also encourage you to literally have a chair in the room for that person and to teach like that person is sitting there. I am sure that everyday you do your best for your students, but I also suspect that if your inspirational child was in the room, you might define your best a little differently. Let this child be your muse to do and create and act in ways that not only meet, but exceed your expectations of yourself and your capabilities. In so doing, you are then a muse for your students to do and create and act in ways that exceed their expectations for themselves. And with that, the genius of your work will be 99 percent inspiration and 1 percent perspiration.