Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Who Will Know Your Heart?

Photo by KB
The first week of every school is always filled with strong emotions for me.  There is anxiety, excitement, joy, anticipation.  It always seems like there is so much to do to prepare for the students to arrive, yet nothing gets done fast enough or with enough time left in the day to finish the To-Do list. I usually have a few moments of tears and terror during this time, feeling as if I will never be ready when that first bell rings.

Something was different, though. I began to trust myself as an educator, a professional, and just all around adult.  I stopped second guessing every decision I made and walked through the beginning of the year with a confidence I have not experienced in the past.  Instead of melting down in fear, I worked with purpose and accepted that not every single thing would be perfect. 

This year, I did not feel the same anxiety I have felt in the past.  For the most part, I was so excited and every idea that became a reality filled my heart with joy. This was also the first year I was surrounded and supported by my PLN and felt connected to my co-workers after building some stronger relationships through our Tribes character program.

This summer I began the journey of becoming a connected educator. I have met some of the most inspiring people I have ever encountered, engaged in paradigm-altering conversations, and I have felt more kindness and support than I have experienced at any other point in my career.  I have build real relationships and I trust these people as if I was working alongside them in my building every day.  

In a very real sense, they truly know my heart. They have celebrated victories with me, and at the same time they have talked me through some very emotional spots.  I have found friends, mentors, and buddies. I have even connected with people inside my own building because I can share what's happening in my classroom even when they can't be in there with me.  

I decided to open my heart, try something new, and believe in others.  In return, I received the gift of growth and change, not alone, but alongside many others traveling this same path.  We trusted each each, held hands, and took the plunge.  

Trust was there and it was important.  More than that though, I needed faith. Because faith, for me, is always one step ahead of trust.

So as I planned for this first week, I began to focus on who my students would need me to be this year. The beginning of the year is crucial for building a classroom culture of respect and trust.  What would I need to do to make sure that my students would feel safe, inspired, and motivated in my room?  

This is complex, yet so simple at the same time.  I would need to show my students I had faith in them. I would need to show them the belief I had for them was real and unwavering.  I would need to let them know me, so in turn I could get to know them.  

As your students return and emotions run high, how will you engage your students and others around you in a way that builds trusts?  In what ways can you support your students and colleagues by showing you have faith in them and the decisions they make. How much faith will you have in yourself and the people around you this year? Who, this year, will know your heart? 

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