Here we are in the middle of January, and I’m just getting around to it. Yes, I’m a bit later on this post than I would have liked, but it fits in with the word I chose for this year. Here’s my #oneword for 2019 and a bit about how I got there.
Nam is a regular contributor to the JRNEY blog, and I admire him a great deal. In fact, I hope to be able to visit him in Vietnam in the very near future. In this blog, he discusses an important topic, within in context of Vietnam, that increasingly affects every educator around the world: migration. When homes are no longer safe or opportunities arise or diminish, people move. People have always moved, and they will always continue to do so. How education responds depends on you.
I met Greg in June at the end of a scavenger hunt as part of an ISTE Global Collaboration PLN event. And I'm so glad I did. Right away I could tell that Greg was one of the good guys working hard to find ways to make the lives of kids and teachers better. And his way was through analytics. Now this is not my normal cup of tea, but when I heard him explain what he was doing, I felt strongly about having him share his story here.
I had the pleasure of spending some time with Gina at the ISTE conference in Chicago this past June and seeing the result of her JRNEY in action. While my path to teaching was direct, my path out of the classroom has been meandering, to say the least, and I believe that these crooked, twisting roads lead us to our best selves both inside and outside the classroom. Gina’s story is a perfect example of how the process is the point.
Empathy is an important word in education, but what if it's not your strong suit? Fellow ASCD Emerging Leader, PJ Caposey, writes about his empathy jrney. I'm really proud of PJ's honesty in this post. It's so easy for empathy to fall to the wayside when our responsibilities increase and patience wanes. But this is a great reminder for all of us to take a step back and put ourselves in someone else's shoes.
I was elbow deep in mango when the phone rang. While I knew that my to-do list was piling up and I didn’t really have time for one of our “dig into life” conversations, something told me that I needed to answer the phone. That phone conversation with a close friend was exactly what I didn’t realize I needed at that moment, and it prompted me to think about some things in a new way.
I began by lamenting about all the work I had to do and how I still needed to prepare for a conference I was going to that weekend. But instead of focusing on my work like I knew I needed to, I was making mango salsa. I didn’t want the fruit to spoil while I was gone, so logically I prioritized salsa-making.
This has been the case for me all month especially when it comes to working on this blog. JRNEY is incredibly important to me, so I couldn’t figure out why I was avoiding it until I said it out loud. At the end of May, I wrote a post about a recent experience I had speaking to some young women in Nigeria. It was personal, and it was authentically me on the page. And I haven’t posted anything since.
I’ve drafted a couple posts, but nothing felt right or worth reading. And most importantly, how could I write about something like the power of yes when all I wanted to do was say no and curl up in my bed for a week? That’s when I realized I wasn’t listening to myself. I wasn’t being authentic, and I certainly wasn’t practicing what I expected my contributors to share. While, yes, this is an education blog, it is also a people blog. Since this blog began a few months ago, so many educators have trusted me with their stories. They have put themselves out there and shared some very personal stuff. And here I was working on a post about the importance of networking. All I could think of was, so what?!!
I decided not to post anything, and I decided to take a break. I’m really glad I did though because it helped me get back to why I believe stories are so important and why I started this blog in the first place. The connection and shared humanity that stories provide are what JRNEY is all about. Just like this website and blog are a work in progress, so am I. So I've decided not to beat myself up anymore about sticking to a schedule; I’ll just do the best I can and focus on staying true to myself and the stories worth sharing.
A big, heartfelt thank you to Shannon Gerrity for listening and being my compass when there are days when I can’t find my map.
This is exactly the kind of story I love to share on this blog, and it's perfect for the theme of the month, what's best for kids. Most teachers can relate to Tammy's story of Carlos and how one small adjustment makes all the difference in the life of a student. But what's truly amazing is that Tammy didn't stop there, she continues to reach children around the world on a grand scale, and JRNEY is thrilled to be able to share her story this week.
This week I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to two groups of young women from Kenade and Fausac Secondary Schools in Lagos, Nigeria through an event called Inspire a Child. It allowed me to confront and honor some important life choices and continue to see the power of women choosing their own path and working together.