We are a little over a month into the new year and I have read several posts in regards to the author’s “One Word” for 2018. I am new to blogging, but not reading blogs and yet this concept of “one word to change your year” is new to me. I have enjoyed reading about different goals and perspectives for the upcoming year. As a result of reading and upon reflection, I felt inspired to discover my own and set goals for 2018. So I realize I’m a bit late, but hey better late than never! So here it goes…

My one word for 2018 is GRATEFUL. As I read and reflect, many words came to mind but grateful stood out as it came into my consciousness.

I am grateful for my past experiences. I have a beyond blessed life and yet I had taken the vast majority of it for granted. My personal and professional lives intersected with so many opportunities and blessings and I never really took the time to be present and thankful for it. Instead I allowed arrogance and bitterness to take course and it snowballed over time. As a result of said selfishness, I nearly lost all of what I had been blessed with. The past couple of years have been humbling and I have to say I am grateful for it. I know cannot change the past but I know I can learn from it and do my best to make the most of what I have today.

I am grateful for my faith. Through everything my faith has seen high highs and low lows. However I have learned that God is greater than the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m so grateful for this life lesson and the opportunity to share it with others.

I am grateful for my family. I am so blessed to have my wife and kids with me on this journey. They are my rock. They have never wavered. I am grateful for them and look forward to our year to come.

I am grateful for my colleagues and connectors in the field and beyond. As the Canadian philosopher Drake said, “What a time to be alive”. To live in a world where we connect and learn via social media and blogs has been so revitalizing. As stated earlier, it’s easy to get stuck and become bitter. I am reminded constantly as I read and listen to thought leaders in the field and beyond of how exciting it is to be an educator. It is genuine joy to see new blog posts and tweets in my social media feed. To reflect and share with others…to soak it in and let it shine.

I’m grateful for the year to come. I have so much to learn and to experience. With that in mind, here some grateful goals for 2018:

  • Be present and enjoy each moment
  • Listen more, talk less
  • Read, reflect, and write
  • Stay humble, hustle hard (phrase credit to Philip DeFranco)

grateful(photo credit

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018.

4 tidbits to kick-start the beginning of the new school year.

It’s that time of year. The time of year when on my morning run, I see students gathering at corners all around my subdivision waiting for the big cheese box (aka school bus) to come and pick them up. The school year is here! I want to wish all the students and staff of schools the very best this school year. My hope is that everyone finds new opportunities and a clean slate with the new school year. I always enjoy that aspect of working in education: a new year, new people, new goals, new impact, and new memories. With all this mind, here are some tidbits to kick-start the beginning of the school year.

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1. Know your why


It is important to know your objectives and why you do what you do. Keep students at the center of all that you do. As referenced in the previous post, Simon Sinek articulates this in his TED talk and explains that by focusing on “Why” we can inspire action. Knowing your “Why” will guide everything else. It’s the cornerstone that everything else will build upon. Andrew Miller recently contributed to a post in ASCD where he cited “‘Why?’ allows us to not only be inspired but also ensure the choices we make to transform our schools are powerful and grounded in shared ownership and purpose.” 

2. Foster Connections & Creativity

Once you have your “Why” for the year, it’s important be open to change, growth, and opportunity. We should always be open to learning and growing personally and professionally. Get to know your students and staff, build positive relationships, and foster connections that will impact learning for years to come. As seen on Twitter this week:

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Building this type of community will lead to a stronger culture and climate of the building and open up possibilities for creativity to grow and spread. It is imperative to allow students and staff to be creative and share with one another.

3. Take risks and try new things

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This one is particularly been a challenge throughout my life and career. I am about as laid back as they come and I have not always been willing to put myself out there and try new things. However as I continue to grow and gain experience, I try to also put myself out there and take more risks. Now these are calculated risks, they are not without thought. It always goes back to the “Why” that is guiding me, but I find that risk-taking is healthy and helpful. I see taking risks in congruence with goal setting. For example, each school year I would challenge myself to put myself out there and present/share with colleagues as much as possible. As a result I would find myself meeting new people, learning about my colleagues, and gaining more insight into teaching and learning. Set a couple risk taking goals this school year.

4. Have Fun

This one can get lost in the shuffle quickly. With so many items on our lists and minds we tend to forget that we should and need to have fun. Make a point to reflect on each day and make sure you enjoy what you do and spread the joy to others. A smiling face and a sincere “good morning” or “have a nice day” goes a long way. Remember to smile and laugh with your students and staff this school year.

I wish you all the best this coming school year and enjoy every single day!

Taking the dive

I want to first welcome everyone (if anyone reads this) to my blog. These words of welcome are ones that I have longed to type. I must admit I have long wanted, considered, and even almost started a blog for many years now. It’s one of those things in my life that I think about a lot but for one reason or another, I refrained. Refrain no longer! As I enter into a new chapter of my life, I believe it is time to write, archive, and share. As I take the dive into blogging and share my first post, I want to “start with the why”.

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As many have written or presented on prior, Simon Sinek’s concept and charge to “start with the why” has been pivotal in my career and life. Prior to seeing the Ted Talk and reading his book, I’d like to think I was mindful enough to know the why behind my choices/actions but I cannot be sure. However, since that day of discovery, I now know I am always considering “the why” behind all that I do. Anytime I lead a meeting, presentation, workshop, etc, I make sure to set the tone for learning by stating the why. Now for the “why” behind the blog.

It’s time:

It’s a pretty obvious one, but more and more I find myself agreeing with other educators in the field about the importance of having a digital presence and connection with learners online. I fully admit my reservations of a blog being seen as self-promotion and guided by self-interests. Of course I always have that question in the back of mind (and sometimes front) of “who wants to hear/read anything I have to share”. If people do read, they will only notice the grammatical errors. With that in mind, I know that in order to increase connections and understandings, it’s necessary to put yourself out there. I am the go to “retweet” guy without a doubt. I am constantly bookmarking and “saving to pocket”.  There is a time and place for this. However I know as I grow in my learning, I also must be willing to share my own thoughts and put myself out there. I want and need to take healthy risks in my learning. The time to do this is now.

It’s therapeutic:

I view blogging as my digital journal. The place I can go to write down my thoughts, likes, wonders, stories, etc. I have read and believe in the research that supports journaling (blogging) as therapy. There are mental benefits to writing down the items from our mind. Throughout my day, I find myself thinking about how much I have going on in my mind. I believe that writing it down and sharing it will not just serve as some mental relief, but also could lend itself to mental improvements. Here is a link to a post to support my rationale so you don’t have to take my word for it.

It’s a showcase and a shout out:

I know I am the person I am today as a result of those I have encountered, both in the physical as well as digital. I know if I am going to write, I am going to be writing about the people and experiences in my life. It’s a place to share these experiences, not just ones in education, and to give thanks and seek additional input and insight.

So I’d like to conclude this post by giving thanks to the educators that I have been following on Twitter and reading their blogs and thoughts for years now. I am grateful to be connected to you and excited to now share and contribute to the process.