Thursday, October 22, 2020

How a Facebook timeline can help you reach your goals


For the past few days, I've been holding individual meetings with our new teachers at our school. We've hired some phenomenal teachers this year, and while I've visited their classrooms and had a few conversations here and there with them, I still was left wanting and needing to know them better personally and professionally.

Due to COVID, our New Teacher Orientation over the summer was much different than in the past, and our physical meetings and get-togethers have been limited this school year. We've been having virtual "chats" and learning in the Google Classroom for New Teachers, but as you can guess, it's just not the same as getting to look in each other's eyes, read body language, and feel the energy from each other when you're learning together.

I emailed all of the new teachers to let them know that I wanted to meet with them and I shared a link to my appointment calendar (I just learned how to create apointment slots in my Google calendar to share with others. Very neat trick!)

Here's what I included in my email:

I would like to schedule short, individual meetings with all of you beginning this Friday. These are 15-minute meetings, and I'd like to talk about

     - What motivates YOU

     - How can I support you in what you're doing

     - What do we (HHS) need to do better 

     - What's 1 thing you're grateful for right now

It was a conversation with one of our new teachers that led to writing and sharing this blog post. When I asked him, "What drives your engine? What motivates you?" He said that he loves learning and always wants to keep getting better and growing. I followed up by asking him if he had always been that way, even from a young age. 

What he said next was very cool. 

He said that a few years ago he was looking through his Facebook timeline, and he noticed that he seemed to be in the same place in life, doing the "same old thing," and he realized that he needed to make some changes and be intentional about what he was learning and doing to ensure that he was continuing to grow and evolve. 

...he was looking through his Facebook timeline, and he noticed that he seemed to be in the same place in life, doing the "same old thing,"

I thought that what he shared was so inspiring! If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I'm a planner and goal-setter, and the idea of using my social media timeline as a tool for goal setting really resonates with me. 

We're in the last quarter of 2020, and this is the time for us to be personally preparing for a new year of personal and professional growth. This weekend, I plan to review my timelines and take some notes on where I've been and where I would like to go. 

Here are the nitty-gritty questions that are a part of my goal-setting framework:

     -Where have I been?

     -Where am I now?

     -Where do I want to go?

     -What do I need to do to get there?

     -What do I need to learn to get there?

     -What speedbumps or roadblocks will I need to overcome?

     -Who will I need to help me get there?

     -Who can I help along the way?

Do you have a method to your goal-setting? I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or you can reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook.



Sunday, October 11, 2020

Why it's Important to Look for the Gifts [ blog post + podcast link]

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting TheCompelledEducator.com

Gratitude is more than a word. It's an action. And the research shows that it's beneficial for us to show it, express it, and live it. 

With 2020 nearing a close, there are many people who are looking forward to closing this chapter and opening a new one. I've expressed on many an occasion that I'm ready to drop-kick 2020 and bring in 2021! 

Throughout the year, we've experienced stories of loss, struggle, grief, and negativity. However, I would be remiss not to mention the gifts that have come about during the COVID crisis. 

Admittedly, there have been times during the COVID crisis that I've not been grateful. I've been angry, bored, selfish, and frustrated, and everything in between. I've done a lot of work during my teen and adult years on ignoring negative feelings that want to play over and over in my head. While I did experience those thoughts over these past months, I knew from the work I've done (and are still doing!) on myself that gratitude wins out. Every time.


Researchers have determined that gratitude does four things:

1. Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them. 

2. Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone. 

3. The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will.

4. A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equal more positives.

Source

In the podcast episode "Looking for the Gifts" (linked below), my friend Allyson Apsey and I share with listeners some of the benefits we discovered during the pandemic. 

Allyson and I had connected with each other multiple times over the summer and into the start of the new school year, but none of the times were right for either of us to continue and/or record the next episode. As we geared up to get back to our podcast series, we intentionally chose to share positivity and joy we discovered during the chaos.

ENJOY!



I would love to hear from you! What gifts did you discover during the COVID chaos? How do you practice gratitude? Leave me a comment below or connect with me on twitter


You can order Allyson's books by clicking on each picture below:

        


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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

5 times you need to press the Pause button



Slowing down can be hard. If you work in a job that is fast-paced, demanding, or highly task-oriented, you can start to feel like a hamster on a wheel. If you're a "Type A" person with a healthy dose of perfectionism (Type 1 on the Enneagram), you may put pressure on yourself to constantly achieve and keep the wheel moving (and usually faster than the day before).

In today's connected world, with so much coming at us, we can sometimes feel a fight or flight response in reaction to the stress, "noise," and demands. If you're facing a fight or flight response, pressing the pause button is an option that shouldn't be overlooked.

Pressing the pause button is important because if we don't, life will come at us in the form of burnout, overwhelm, exhaustion, breakdown and/or illness. Maybe you've experienced a time when you got caught up in all the things and didn't take time to pause. Maybe you're there now, needing this message and needing to hit press pause. 

When should you hit the pause button?


1. When you're under the weather. Illness is a strong signal that perhaps you're overdoing it. It's your body's way of signaling to you to take a rest.

2. When you need to make an important decision. Whether it's to "sleep on it" or to give yourself time to make an intentional choice, hit the pause button during this time.

3. When you're not giving your best. When you know your standard of excellence you've set for yourself and realize that you're not living up to your own expectations, you probably need to hit the pause button. Re-evaluate and re-energize before taking on another task.

4. When the busy-ness leads to boredom. Spending time on menial tasks that don't lead to end results can be a sure sign of needing to hit the pause button and take time to re-visit priorities.

5. When you need a break. Consistently pushing yourself without time for rest and recovery can lead to burnout. 


hit-the-pause-button


What does hitting the pause button look like?


- It may be taking time for deep breathing

- It could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator

- It could mean taking a break from social media

- It may mean spending time doing something you love

- It could mean leaving the email in draft form instead of sending immediately

- It may be closing your office door and turning off the lights for a few minutes

- It might be a walk around the block, building, or parking lot


While you may not be able to slow the pace of your life, you may be able to put some calm in it by pressing the pause button at important and regular times. 


I would love to hear how you "Press Pause" in your own life. You can leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook


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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Flipping Office Referrals from Discipline to Praise

Praise-Referrals


Are you looking for a way to celebrate students? A way to recongize positive behavior? I've got a proven idea for you (that can also be used in a virtual setting), as well as an update on a most-read post from 2013. 

While a lot has happened since I wrote the original post about Praise Referrals, and I'm no longer the administrator for a grade-level at our school, we are still finding ways to sustain a culture of high expectations for positive behavior.

The original post is below, and you can read to the end to see how we've updated the process as well as an update on the student that was highlighted in the post. 


When I meet a parent of a freshmen, they often say, "My daughter/son is ________. I hope he/she never has to come to your office!" or "I guess if you don't know him/her, that's a good thing!"

In my job as the disciplinarian for the freshmen class, most of the students I see in my office are there for negative reasons. Often, my first personal encounter with a student is because he or she has violated the code of conduct... misbehaving in class, skipping class, cheating, out of dress code, etc. 

Fortunately for me and the students, I'm not a person who enjoys negativity. I WANT to know the students... the ones who are behaving and having consistently successful days as well as those who aren't. I find ways to meet students outside my office by talking to them in the hallways, cafeteria, classrooms, etc. 

After attending a session by Bloomfield High School at the annual conference for National Association of Secondary School Principals a few weeks ago, I found a mechanism by which we (grade-level principals) could see students in our office for a positive reason: Praise Referrals. At Bloomfield HS, teachers can "write up" students for positive reasons. I immediately knew that I wanted a copy of their form so that I could bring it back to our school. I emailed one of the presenters while I was in the session and requested a copy. Once I returned to school the next Monday, he had emailed me a copy of the form. Bingo!

While we do recognize Students of the Month (2 per grade level per month), Finley Character Recognition Award winners (7 per grade level), and classroom award winners (recognized at a breakfast in the spring), I still felt like at a school of nearly 2700 students we needed a way to recognize more students for the positive things they do. Now, staff members can recognize students positively throughout the year. When staff members send us grade-level principals a praise referral, we call the student to our office, shower them with praise, and make a positive phone call home. We collect the praise referrals and put them in a box, and at the end of each month we will have a drawing for prizes such as food coupons, iTunes gift cards, etc. and announce those winners over the intercom. 

In giving praise to students, I'm reminded to praise the process rather than the person. In a recent study, it was found that children who received more "process praise" felt as thought they could improve their intelligence, and they approached challenging tasks with a more positive attitude. I have a sign in my office that states, "Smart is not something you are. Smart is something you get by working hard."  

It's been fun to see the students faces as they come to my office then how their faces change when I tell them why they're there and then when I tell them I'm going to call their parents. I think they all float out of my office when they return to class. :) 

Here's what one student posted on Twitter:

Praise-Referrals

How does your school recognize students for positive reasons?

**********

“At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to say I contributed more than I criticized.”

― BrenĂ© Brown


Today, our school uses a different but similar system to recognize students for positive behavior. We created a Google Form that aligns with our school's PBIS acronym, PRIDE: Productive, Respectful, Involved, Determined, Eager. 

When a student displays positive behavior, a teacher or staff member fills out the form about the student. The staff member has to enter the parent's email address in the form, and there is also a place to enter other comments. 

We use an add-on (Email Notifications for Google Forms) that will automatically send an email to the parent to let them know the positive comment that was written by the staff member. 

The email notifications have been a huge hit with the parents, and being able to use this process in our current virtual / blended learning setting has been a wonderful addition to our school year. 


What happened to the student in the original post? 

Riley-Niblett

He's currently pursuing a degree in education, and has been working at our school this year as a long-term sub and assistant football coach.  We are thrilled to have him back at our school, and we are excited about his choice to be an educator and coach!


"We must model the behavior we want to see, and reward the positive behavior we want repeated."    -@Jennifer_Hogan



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Praise-Referrals