Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Hope" dealers

We are all “hope dealers”.  This comment came from a discussion I had on voxer with my #ptcamp group.  Jeffrey See (@JeffreyASee), a new administrator in Wisconsin, attended a conference and the keynote speaker, Roberto Rivera, spoke about how he used to be a dope dealer and now he's a "hope dealer". Jeffrey jokingly said he could see me with a tilted hat as a representation of a "hope dealer" so I gave it a try with this picture.
Think about it.  Every day we have the opportunity to either expand and foster a student’s hopes or crush them.  Do we always have this in mind when we have a chance to speak with individual students?  Do we ask them what they hope to do with their life and explain how what we are doing in class is assisting them in this endeavor?  My guess is that the answer is mixed- sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t.  Think of the power of our conversations, no matter how long or short, and how they can provide the opportunity and support for reaching these hopes.  We all had hopes in 5th through 8th grade.  Mine was to become a professional basketball player.  My coaches spoke to me about becoming the best I could be and obviously I didn’t have the skills or height or speed to make this happen.  But my coaches continued to support this hope.  Their support may not have helped me reach my hopes, but I have the same types of conversations with students as often as I can.  Now I know what you’re saying- Jay, how can we have these conversations with our students every day?  Here’s what I would say- How can we not have these conversations?  It doesn’t take long.  I’ve seen you all have these conversations with students, and the students respond to them.  Show them you care.  Give them a little of your time.  You are all “hope dealers” and I’m proud of you for that.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Only the best...

Through my journey with #ptcamp and our study of Beyond the Bake Sale this summer, and the conversations that continue, I have realized one important thing.  Everyone gives us only their best.  Families send us their best children.  Families do their best for their children.  Our school staff gives their best for the students and for each other.  I believe this to be true.  Call me naive.  Call me an eternal optimist.  Call me someone with pie in the sky dreams.  Call me whatever you would like.  But I believe this to be true- everyone gives us only their best.

Over the first month of school, I have had a nearly uncountable number of phone calls, emails, and meetings.  Some of these have been with students.  Some have been with families.  Some have been with school staff.  All of them have been about our students- their success in class, their behavior, their friendships.  The important thing about each of these meetings has been my desire to make sure that all involved are giving their best, and that includes me.

We have a motto in Merton.  Well, it's really an acronym.  We want to be the BEST.

Believe in each other
Encourage each other
Share with each other
Trust each other

This has been something we've discussed as a staff, but now I think it's really important to include this in all aspects of our school.  We need to have this in mind with our conversations with students and their families, too.  Imagine the power of everyone having the mindset that the person they are teaming with is doing their best.  Now that would be awesome!

As the school year continues, my goal is to keep this mindset.  I know that it will be difficult at times, but I also have to do my best to keep that mindset.  I hope others notice that I'm doing my best as well.  After all, that's really all we can ask of anyone.