Saturday, August 24, 2013


I have spent most of the summer getting pumped up about school starting. I was able to connect with some amazing educators. I was a little disillusioned after the first 3 days of inservice. Day 1 was definitely inspiring, but it was not going to last much past that day. Day 2 was anything but inspiring. I was asked to show our entire secondary staff some refresher information about Edmodo in 45 minutes or less. I knew after the first hand went up and said "you are going too fast" that most people in the room were completely turned off and overwhelmed. I was able to offer a slower session in the afternoon and about 40 of the 200 returned and were very grateful for my help. Day 3 was all about data. Well, data is hard to make inspiring especially when you involve politics. So, needless to say all that inspiration that I gained over the summer seemed to be for nothing. Then we had day 4! One of my principals, the one who will be retiring in January, gave us a task. Most of the time when teachers are given a task, they cringe at the thought of having to do something else when their plates are already overflowing. This was not the case for this task. You see, the principal asked us to recall what our speaker said on Day 1 and the story he told about the little girl and the moment that he was given. He was her "blessing." She then asked us to remember why we do what we do....we do it for the kids. She challenged us to find one (yes just one) kid that we could be a blessing for and let her know the name of our selection. Some people balked a little, but not me. I sat in shock. I was feeling quite blessed at that very moment. I was under the leadership of this woman and while I am sad that she is retiring, I am so lucky to have worked under her wing. I realized right then and there that she had been my blessing this past year. There were several times along my journey that I wanted to quit and just do what I had always done because I was scared that I would fail. She continuously encouraged me and there were times where I'm sure she had greater things on her mind but she took the time to meet my needs. I know that most teachers are a blessing in disguise for kids, but how often are we ever challenged to become someone's blessing intentionally. Now, I am so excited to start the school year and find my blessing receiver. I hope their are many that can say I was their "blessing", but I love the challenge of finding ONE to be an intentional blessing for. Passion at it's greatest!


Today I tweeted "Our lives are defined by moments. Don't miss the opportunity to capture those moments!" This was inspired by our guest speaker, Dr. Eric Cupp,at convocation. He is a very dynamic and effective speaker. I was already pumped about school starting because I was inspired by a group of "pirates" over the summer, but not all of my colleagues were as excited as I was. Dr. Cupp left several of these teachers with some goose bumps today. He told a story about how he was set to go to Savannah, Georgia to deliver a keynote and his wife was getting to travel with him, but due to unfortunate circumstances, she was not able to make the trip. This was where the story actually started. It was all about how he was in a place where he had not intended to be and by God's grace he was placed there to make sure one young girl's moment was not passed up. He had several of these stories and it really hit home. As teachers, we have the most "moments" presented to us. We often call them "teachable moments." I definitely had a "moment" this summer. Somehow, I was afforded the opportunity via twitter to attend professional development. My tweep, Hal Roberts, graciously invited me to his staffs' professional development to see the keynote speaker, Dave Burgess. I read Dave's book, Teach Like A Pirate over the summer and had been participating in a twitter chat called #tlap. I was faced with several scheduling dilemmas like an principal preparation class and jur, but I am convinced now more that ever that I was meant to be right there!  I am entering this school year with several challenges, but one thing will remain at the top of the list and that is my students. I have set a goal to make sure that I don't miss any of these "moments" no matter how busy my schedule may get. I want my students to be able to see that each of them is a genius and will be successful. What they will be successful in is up to them. I will not hold them back from what they are most passionate about, no matter how many standards I have to teach in a certain time frame. There is one thing you can NEVER get back and that is time. I want them to make the most of their time in my class. I want them to discover what makes them tick. I want them to find their passions and build relationships that will last a lifetime. I want them to know that "I CARE" because I do. There are several jobs that I could do that would make me whole lot more money than teaching, but nothing can fulfill the completeness that I feel when I turn a kid into a lover of learning! My principal reminded us today that our year will be great as long as we love what we do. She followed that up with this, "If you do not love what you do, then I suggest you find something else." She is absolutely right. The kids deserve it!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My "9 word" Story

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to read a book by Dave Burgess called Teach Like A Pirate. The book was very inspirational showing one teacher's true passion and enthusiasm. It was very infectious. One of my tweeps, Hal, provided me (via Twitter) the opportunity to meet Dave Burgess face to face. Not only did I read the book, I saw it come to life. I had several hurdles to clear in order to make this happen. Did I mention that I am a world record hurdler? I'm not really, but I sure felt like it that week. The spark from this book has caused a fire that will never be put out! In this book, Dave tells a story about "6 words." Well Dave, after this last week, I completely understand why a few simple words got under your skin. I had a very similar experience.
Last Friday, I was leading our junior high science collaboration meeting. The morning started out rough and some of the teachers had a difference of opinions on what they thought we were doing or NOT doing. Some how the subject of our district internet filter was put on the table. I mentioned how sad I was that Twitter was now blocked. It was the few seconds after this that those "9 words" were spoken. Now these nine words may not light your fire, but for me they were like an atomic bomb. I thought I was in the room with like-minded people because after all, we were all junior high science teachers with a passion for both science and teaching. The same person that caused a ripple at the start of the meeting spoke these nine words with pure confidence. I was in shock. How could this like-minded individual not see things the same? Now here are the nine words he spoke, "Twitter should stay blocked. It's a waste of time!" My immediate reaction was to laugh because surely he was joking. I quickly realized he was not and that his passion "against" Twitter was probably just as strong as mine is "for" Twitter.
Most of you know that I can be a joker, but this was a blow to my ego. I have worked extremely hard over the past several months developing my PLN on Twitter. I have spent hours upon hours connecting to the world's leading educators and gathering resources from them. There are times where I have given up valuable time with friends and family just to be able to learn more from my tweeps so that I can become a better educator. I had knots in my stomach thinking that he saw all this work I put into building my PLN and Tweeting out to the world as a "waste of time." It was in this moment that I wanted to say, "Well, then you go find your own resources and we will finish what we are doing here without you." I held my tongue and decided I would show him just how powerful Twitter can be. The first thing I did was share the story of how I was invited via Twitter to meet the author of the most inspirational book that I had ever read. I know I am an awesome story teller, but this didn't seem to phase him. Then I decided I would show him some of the amazing apps that I was introduced to at Edcamp FWTX. He was quite impressed with the apps, but not so impressed that I went to this free "non-conference" style professional development that was shared with me via Twitter. Then I thought to my "pirate-self", what are his interests and how can I incorporate them into my ploy to sway him on this Twitter debate. He had just shared that his wife's temporary job was coming to an end and money was going to be tight again. Then it hit me..."job offers." So, I shared with him how I had received not one but two job offers in the month of July via Twitter (both without an official interview). I finally had his attention. I explained that these people didn't just offer me a job because I fit the requirements. These people follow me on Twitter. They see how connected I am to the world of education. They know how passionate I am about teaching and leading. They didn't need a forty-five minute interview. They see me every day. Every Tweet I send, they see it. Now, I didn't completely sway him to the "Bright Side" of Twitter, but I got him thinking about the powers that be. I think my Twitter hater will soon realize that if he does not hop on this boat and set sail with the rest of the world of educators that he will either drown by pure exhaustion of "old schooling" it, or he will just have to hope that someone throws him a life preserver and is able to get him on board. So for him and all other Twitter bashers, I am on a mission to actually make a difference and have an impact on the world. Happy "floating/swimming" to all of you that missed the boat because this little pirate is sailing on!