This past summer, I participated in a Twitter learning series set up by Todd Nesloney. #SummerLS was set up by Todd to engage the teacher's at his school in weekly challenges leading up to the start of the new school year. I've followed Todd for a while on Twitter, so I joined in. This January he initiated a new learning series, Educator Learning Series, #eduLS.
The first challenge was to choose #onelittleword to guide our year. I initially thought of #impact, but never posted my word. This was due to the obsession I have with doing things perfectly. I sometimes fail to get things accomplished, because I spend forever trying to do them the perfect way. Perfect here is the idea that I have in my head for the way something should turn out. Since I've had some time to reflect on my word, I've changed my focus and selected #relationships as my word for 2015. I was hoping to choose a verb, but I then realized that what I really want to focus my personal and professional life around this year are the relationships I have with people in my life.
I currently live on the other side of the world from my immediate and extended family. The people I've grown closest to are not anywhere near me. As I continue on this amazing journey teaching overseas, I want to recommit myself to maintaining the relationships I have with the people that mean the world to me.
I also want to focus on making an impact on the students I work with and build relationships at school. For as long as I can remember, I've had a role that allowed me to work with children. From working with young swimmers through coaching and lessons, to baby-sitting and running a summer camp with a friend from her basement, to becoming a classroom teacher, I've always felt a calling to working with children. I find it easy to connect with others, but especially students. I've felt a lot of criticism by colleagues and others that felt my goal was to "be friends" and "be liked" by students. I think that a relationship is about mutual respect and a connection that shows the child he/she matters to you.
I have had an opportunity to work with so many incredible people and educate some really amazing and inspirational children. I learn new things from my colleagues and students constantly. I want to recommit myself to fostering the relationships I have and growing relationships with those new to my life. In Doha, I have the opportunity to interact and meet people from so many different parts of the world. While I have the chance to build so many new relationships, I want to make sure that I continue to show those in my life how important they are.
So in 2015, my #onelittleword is #relationships inspired in part by a quote I carried with me to Doha.
Saying goodbye to some of my former students at their summer swim meet this past year, between the hugs and tears held back with laughs, one of the fathers said to me, "Take time to build relationships with your students. It is so important."
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.