Sunday, August 28, 2011

What People Need

I can't please everyone! I know, not much of an epiphany you say. But so often, I trick myself into thinking that I can please everyone, provide what they need in a relationship, provide new understanding that will help them see different perspectives, provide skills that will help them experience success and growth.

I see this especially when it comes to helping teachers become comfortable using technology in their classrooms. There are so many obstacles: some in our minds, some in our skills, some in our beliefs, some in our egos.

I think a key might be figuring out what people need. What are their hopes and fears? Conversation is the key, but these are the often the kinds of conversations we shy away from, awkward and uncomfortable, conversations that make people feel vulnerable. I want to create a culture in both of my worlds where these kinds of conversations can happen more regularly. Then maybe I can't please everyone, but I can be there to witness them figuring out what they need. And maybe sometimes, just sometimes, I can fill that need. When I can't, at least I was there to witness and support.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Work-Life Balance

So it's been a few weeks since I've posted. In an effort to achieve some sort of work-life balance, I stepped away from my computer to reconnect with family and home. Then the school year began and the crazy-busy schedule along with it. When would I ever find the time to blog again? Time to check the balance.

As educators, we recognize that what looks balance to one individual will not look the same to others. For many of us the work we do fuels our lives, so down time is reading articles, conducting research, and sharing our findings and reflections with others. Prioritizing, reflecting on the things that make our lives meaningful, and taking action towards the high priorities are the best way to achieve that balance.

As educators, we also understand developmental stages. When we transfer that information to our adult selves and colleagues we can gain insight into the ages and stages of teachers. Those with small children at home have less time to devote to work passions. Those veteran teachers find that time spent devoted to our passion for education has us working weekends and nights, but still feeling balanced.

I found my time and am glad for it. What does balance look like for you?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Prompting Reflection

There can be a lot of life events that cause one to stop and reflect. I tend to see this happening in the "real" world during a time of transition or difficulty: death of a loved one, job loss, traumatic event. But I believe that a habit of reflection can make living life, and living through life's challenges, a little easier. Why? Maybe because reflection helps you see your purpose, create meaning from your actions, and empower you to make decisions.

In my world of education, we ask students to reflect on their learning and development. Why? Because reflection provides opportunities to think about the connection between oneself and the learning, leading to self-awareness and new action. Here is a great post on Reflection as an Aid to Understanding.
Ten Ways to Encourage Student Reflection provides some great ideas, and here are some of my favorite prompts:

  • One thing I learned...
  • I was surprised by...
  • I am confused by...
  • This reminds me of...
  • I want to learn more about...