When I read the #LeadLAP 5 Commitments Challenge over the summer, I was so committed to the posts I was working on, I didn’t have a chance to write this one; yet. I wasn’t even sure what I would write about, but I had faith that when I was finally ready, it would come to me. I’m ready. The time is now.
Commitment Number 1 (My personal favorite!)
I’m committed to my colleagues, to seeing who they are, every one of them. Twenty years ago, I was a student athlete at Boston University. I was a little freshman in awe of every coach including the women’s basketball coach, Chris Basile. Chris is the PIRATE in the middle of the picture above. She went back to teaching wellness after finishing her college coaching career and I’ve had the honor of working with her over the last two years.
Echoing in my head throughout the four years I was in school was, “The time is now.” That’s because in my world, Coach Basile was the first person to say it. Although we spoke only a handful of times at BU, this statement made a difference. On our first staff day, my principal gave us the opportunity to share our vision of passion in the classroom. I knew we had to include The time is now in our presentation as well as share the story behind it. It was important to Chris to share the value of staying in the moment as this is what the best athletes do. We both wanted to share the value of bringing passion to school NOW for ourselves, for each other, and for our students.
So we took a risk, shared our story (much of it unscripted, which made it even better!) played the “Top Three” activity from Lead Like a PIRATE, and had a blast. As I looked around the room, I realized our colleagues were captivated. Many told me they even had the chills. I literally could not walk down the hallway later that day without someone stopping me and I give so much credit to Chris. She was truly inspirational.
Any PIRATE book I have ever recommended, she has read and this has been the bond that’s made us closer. We push each other, we support each other, and I easily could have missed that boat. Had I continued to see Chris as a big time coach from the past, and remained too shy to speak to her, I may have never seen the PIRATE within. I am committed to seeing each of my colleagues beyond the surface. The time is now.
Commitment Number 2
I’m committed to supporting my principal like never before. I’ve had wonderful administrators over the past thirteen years (fourteen administrators total!) but what came out of my mouth just two weeks ago shocked me. In yet another incredible meeting, I looked my principal right in the eyes and simply stated “I got your back.” Completely unplanned, super dorky, but as real of a moment as you could possibly hope for, it just happened. When you’re persistent and fight for relationships you know will impact change, you never know what you’ll unleash in each other. You have to try. I’m learning it’s too important not to.
Over the summer I wrote about an end of year energy I predicted would break down the doors when we came back. I might just be onto something, because the energy in the air right now is different. It’s completely genuine and seems to be building every second. Enthusiasm is spreading and perhaps the best part is we’re sharing how excited we are to be back. This is certainly a result of the way school ended last year, but it’s also due to my principal’s leadership in supporting us. I, like never before, am committed to supporting her. The time is now.
Commitment Number 3
I’m committed to the being a catalyst. Ever since I had the privilege of hearing Kevin Carol, (a.k.a. the Katalyst) speak at ISTE three years ago, I fell in love with the word. This year my role changed. I am a full time technology integration coach and couldn’t be happier about it. Inspired by George Couros, I am committed to sparking change and launching a year of teacher leadership. And I’m very much looking forward to getting out of the way whenever I can. In the classroom, it was a dream to see students move ahead without me and now, I view this as an exciting part of my role with teachers! I love seeing people excited to teach and learn, to own something, and run with it.
A colleague who I met with less than a year ago to discuss Seesaw led our building last week in what quickly became forty-five minutes of happiness, curiosity, and motivation. We met only once to reflect last year on how Seesaw was going and I introduced her to a first grade teacher who was equally passionate about this fabulous tool. That was it. She did the rest. This was her first time presenting to staff and administrators and she knocked it out of the park. Not only did the interest in using Seesaw spike, we were able to come together in our first ever Google + Community to celebrate this incredible teacher. I am committed to being a catalyst for my colleagues. The time is now.
Commitment Number 4
I’ve always been more passionate about writing than reading, but this year I’m committed to reading. I’ll never be as fast as Beth Houf and Jay Billy (and they are super fast!), but I’m committed to conquering the fear of reading too many books. I always thought I would get lost, but today information is coming at us all of the time. If I don’t learn how to take it in, connect it, and apply it, how can I ask students to do the same? Plus I was able to create the best summer PD of my life!
If you’re reading this post, you’ve most likely experienced a page turning adventure with at least one of the books below. You’ve probably even figured out how to apply what you learned. I made a conscious decision, like you, to do exactly that. In the process, however, something unexpected happened. My confidence boosted just from reading what these authors were offering the world. So I did something I’ve never done before.
I worked for hours to create a presentation I knew would impact teachers and administrators before I asked for the time to share it. I was driven and I knew somehow that drive, my thirst to inspire student owned learning, teacher leadership, and all around empowerment was too strong to be rejected. Thanks to my administrators, it wasn’t. I learned that these books went beyond giving me powerful information. Each author handed me courage in their own unique way and I am forever grateful to them. I am now committed to keep reading for myself and also for others. The time is now.
Commitment Number 5
I’m committed to writing this year without seeking approval. Typically I go into publishing mode with my heart racing and the urge to get at least three people to say it’s okay. When I finally click Publish and tweet it, I secretly worry no one will read it or even worse, they’ll read it and won’t like it. If that’s not enough, I rarely share what I write with my own colleagues who I happen to see every day. When I had the recent honor of spending an afternoon with Jay Billy, I asked him for his greatest piece of advice when it comes to me and writing. For those of you who know Jay, you know that his honesty and genuineness are two of his greatest attributes. It didn’t take him much time at all to tell me the following two words; “Let go.”
If I’m going to put myself out there, and inspire colleagues and students to do the same, I must write from here on out without fear. To Lead Like a PIRATE, building trust amongst each other is everything. We must also remember to trust ourselves, our stories, and our ideas. I am committed to writing without worry. The time is now.
My five commitments. I thought about where they came from and I think I figured it out. I’ve tasted each of them over the past few months and I’m hungry for more.
The time is now to share this post. Well it was. Honestly, I was just about to click Publish. I somehow became distracted (it wasn’t avoidance, I promise), but I’m glad I did. I remembered I wanted to buy a “Choose Kind” t-shirt to support #HornetsHelpingHumble, a fundraiser Beth Houf and Fulton Middle School launched to help Humble Middle School in Texas. I jumped to her Twitter page and found this tweet from yesterday’s #LeadLAP chat.
Although I remember this poster the first time Beth tweeted it, it’s been a while. I’d like to think somehow it helped me write this post even if it was subconsciously. What I know without hesitation is that it fits perfectly and I’m thrilled to include it.