I am a wife and a mother to three kids, including my eight year old daughter and five year old twin boys. I share this not only because I think my kids are adorable, but because my family is comprised of many different aspects of society. My husband as a business owner, myself as a teacher, the two of us as parents, and my children as students and the future generation that can change the world. Each of us have a stake in the conversations we are having today and we should each have a voice as well.
Kids need to understand that bullying is not about what you are, it is about how you make others feel. If we can teach children about real-life bullying early on, we will have less bullies. If we teach them the skills they need to communicate and solve problems early on, we will have fewer victims. We need common language, effective strategies, and early intervention. I’m pleased to be part of this important discussion.
#LoveTeaching is an initiative started by 2014 MI TOY Gary Abud, 2015 MN TOY Tom Rademacher, and 2015 National TOY Sean McComb to focus on all of the positives around the teaching profession.
While my focus has been mainly on amplifying teacher voice, I started thinking about student voice. How often do we stop and ask students for their input on what we should be doing in schools? But shouldn’t we? After all, we are all in this for them. So I began listening to students. What do students want?
In my preparation for today’s speech, I had to shift my thinking a bit for a business audience. I don’t often stop and ask employers for their input on what we should be doing in schools. But shouldn’t I? After all, I’m doing my job so that I can prepare students for you. So I decided to ask our work force. What do employers want?
If these are our goals for kids, how do we measure them? How do we possibly test human qualities like innovation on a multiple choice test? We can’t. Do we need to?
I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this picture...
Most often, the best answers are not the ones that are given to us, but the ones we create ourselves. We’ve become so focused on standards and tests, that some might forget we are in the business of people.
This is my first class ever on the first day of school...
This is my first class ever on the last day of school...
Well, almost all of us. There’s one little guy in the back who was just thrilled about the prospect of summer. :)
This is my first class ever now...
In February, I got to spend time with the Teachers of the Year from each state and territory.
Her application told the story of a student who struggled in high school. He said that every war has a turning point, and his time with Ms. Nimmer was a turning point in a war with himself. She believed in him and gave him the support he needed to make it through high school. After graduation, he enlisted in the military, and he told his family that if he were to die in combat, he would like to donate his eyes to his teacher.
It is stories like this that will inspire each of us to do more, to be better, to push our limits until we become limitless. We all walked away from our time together feeling re-energized and ready to take on new challenges. We all felt valued and important, which is just what teachers need.
Our teachers need to get connected, not only with each other, but with people from all professions. We should come away from this experience with new connections, new found appreciation for the work that others do, and new avenues for collaboration. Social media is a powerful tool to keep those connections going.
It’s time to cultivate leaders.
I did not see myself as a leader when I first began teaching. I was focused on my own classroom and my own students. It wasn’t until my 4th year teaching that my principal approached me about representing our staff in a new district initiative. It was the chance to research and learn best practices and watch other teachers in action, which to this day, is still the most powerful professional development I’ve experienced. It was an opportunity to share with my school's colleagues, which created an environment of trust and collaboration that we’ve sustained ever since. But it took someone else to tap into my leadership ability, which made me feel valued, and in turn motivated me to work harder and grow.
Whether you work with students, teachers, or employees,
it is time to tap into the leadership potential of everyone around you...
because when you make someone feel valued,
it lights a fire within them that cannot be extinguished.