My One Little Word for 2015: CONNECT

 

2014 was the first year I set New Year Resolutions in a long time. Typically I hate resolutions because they’re unrealistic: workout every day, read a book a week, etc.

But last year I followed The Two Writing Teacher’s lead and made a “one little word” for the year. After banging my head against a desk, I finally came up with the perfect word for 2014: REMEMBER.

I loved having a theme for my year. I was motivated to write more and blog more and take more pictures. I even filled an entire writer’s notebook!

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The one little word alleviated the pressure that traditional resolutions lend themselves to.

When the calendar turned to 2015 I knew I would have another one little word. I began rolling over possibilities in my mind in November, but three occurrences prompted my final choice:

Occurrence #1:

Professional year is divided into two semesters: education classes (“Block”) and student teaching. After concluding Block my friend Maggie and I reflected on the semester.

In the discussion she said, “You know who really impressed me this semester? Kattie. She really reached out and made an effort to get to know us.”

Kattie, a PE major and sports fanatic, seemed to have little in common with Maggie and me (we’re both cat and book lovers). But Maggie was completely on-target. Kattie made an effort to connect with us despite having different interests.

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And that little effort made last semester more enjoyable. 

Occurrence #2:

After my initial school visit for student teaching, I was nervous about how much control I’d have over curriculum and teaching methods. I scheduled a coffee date with Elisabeth (my college advisor) because I knew she’d have good advice.

After telling her my concerns, she was frank with me. She asked me what a successful student teaching experience looks like for me. My initial reply was that I’d be happy if I could finally put my instructional methods into action. I wanted to run my own reading and writing workshop.

She said that the most successful student teaching experiences she’s seen have not focused on curriculum or even on methods. Her advice: set your goal based on something you can control. I can’t control my cooperating teacher, my students, or my administration.

The only thing I can control is me.

This conversation changed my perspective and expectations for student teaching. I won’t be able to teach what I want. I won’t be able to hand-pick my students. But I can be like Kattie and reach out to others.

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My goal: get involved, make connections, and improve my interpersonal skills. 

Occurrence #3:

Every blog post Pernille Ripp writes speaks to my teacher soul. By December I had a word in mind for my one little word and then I read Pernille’s post about reaching out to the lonely teachers. My word was solidified.

This year I will CONNECT.

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With students. With teachers. With friends. With family. With my healthier self. With characters in books. With technology. With my personal learning network.

This year’s theme of CONNECTION will not only help during student teaching, but also when I start my first teaching job in the fall (fingers crossed!). I’ve heard countless stories about how overwhelming and intimidating the first year teaching is, but I can’t overlook CONNECTION.

So cheers to 2015.

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May it be one full of CONNECTIONS.

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