I had the chance to talk with a former co-worker-turned-friend last week who told me about a challenge he was facing in his current job. All of us face challenges in our jobs and as we get to the end of the year, I like to use that as an opportunity to inspire hope, reflect on what was accomplished, and to send good vibes out for the year to come.
Specifically, there are three rituals that I have used in previous districts to bring closure to the year and inspire positivity for the coming year. The first one is the one I’ve done the longest and that’s what I call the Magic Wand Moment. This was nothing more than a piece of paper with a magic wand on it (see below). The magic in the paper was the gift of giving people the opportunity to speak their dream. They knew that even if I couldn’t make their dream come true, at least I could know what the dream was and see what I could do to help move in that direction.
I was always excited to read what people wrote. Some people used this as a chance to dream and advocate for positions that I would have never thought of or maybe even not have realized that this person wanted. This insight invited me to think outside of the box as well because of their ideas. It was so gratifying when I was able to put people in the positions that they created or they wanted—or at least get them closer to it. I was equally excited when I got Magic Wand Moment sheets returned that were not about dreaming of new and different positions, but more like thank you cards of gratitude for being in their Magic Wand position. It never failed to warm my heart when I read those sheets from people who said things like, “If I could have any job in this school, I would keep my job because I love it!”
The second end-of-year tradition I would do was the “Let It Go” balloon launch. I would ask everyone to write down something that happened during this past school year that they need to let go of. Whatever they wrote down was private and not shared with anyone else. Each person would then get a helium filled balloon and tie their "Let It Go" message to the balloon. We would go outside and do a countdown and then release the balloons all at once. Seeing the balloons drift away was both a figurative and literal release of whatever each of us had been carrying with us throughout the year that would no longer weigh us down. It was always so beautiful to see the balloons carried away by the wind. (For those who read this and are concerned about the environmental impact, please know that I am no longer releasing balloons and there are more environmentally-friendly alternatives such as creating a fire and burning the notes, buying bubbles and blowing way the bad experiences, buying pinwheels as a reminder to let bad experiences blow away, etc.)
The final end-of-year tradition I did was the compliment to letting it go—specifically, we would “Make It Grow.” With this tradition, we would plant seeds or flowers and write something we would want to grow for the coming year on a plant marker that we would stick in the ground next to the seeds or flower. For example, people would write down words like “patience,” or “empathy,” or “flexibility.” Many people might not come in over the summer, but their plant would be taken care of and so when they came back in the fall, there would be their nurtured plant larger and thriving to inspire them that their desire can grow and thrive too.
While talking to my former co-worker as he was saying that he was frustrated with work, I said, “Okay. What’s your Magic Wand Moment?” and he knew exactly what I meant. Often times, being able to give voice to what you want is the first step to achieving that desire. So, I’m wondering…
1. What’s you Magic Wand Moment?
2. What do you want to let go of from this year?
3. What do you want to grow for next year?
P.S. This week, I've asked Dr. Sam Fecich who is an assistant professor of education, author of EduMagic: A Guide for Preservice Teachers and host of the Edumagic Podcast, for a catch. Here's what she caught and why. My catch is canva edu! It is FREE for teachers and offers tools for educators such as lesson plans, agendas, worksheets (they even partnered with wizer to create digital interactive worksheets), virtual classroom content, online collaborative boards, and so much more! Get started for free today just check out: https://www.canva.com/education/
P.P.S. Please remember to...
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