Friday, November 20, 2015

Be Thankful

So often times in schools, educators tend to focus on what’s NOT working…what’s NOT good…what we do NOT have.  Much of the educational news spotlights issues or sensationalizes stories where someone or some program has faltered.  It is understandable that we focus on the “NOT” kind of things.  Appropriate study of data and trends for the things NOT working enables us to design and implement new or different strategies to make improvements or fix things.

But now let’s take a look at the other side of that fence…and look at what we DO have.  Educators in the schools have a job.  Maybe not one of the highest paying jobs, but we are gainfully employed.  Be thankful.  We have cars and places to live before we come to work.  Be thankful.  We live in a country where we can live, work and play with freedoms that many around the world don’t enjoy.  Be thankful.

We come to work at buildings that are generally well kept, heated and cooled.  We have access to the school cafeteria where meals are available for students and staff members. Be thankful.
We have access to technology in the schools with laptops, tablets and phones.  Our students have access to that technology in the form of devices and the Internet.  Many of them have access at home, but far too many still do not have that access at their homes.  For those that have access away from school…so be thankful.

We have FREE web tools with which to enhance our lessons, and engage our students. We can use these tools to have students blog, be notified or reminded about upcoming events, post to online bulletin boards, partner with parents, create pictorial presentations, assess themselves, remediate, create videos, brainstorm, innovate, think critically, communicate and collaborate outside the walls of the classroom and with other students and schools across the state, nation and the world. Be thankful.

If we have a question, we can pretty much get anything answered through the various search engines on the world-wide-web.  We can organize and record data to show student progress within the programs like PowerSchool and School Net…to make life easier for us.  We have email accounts where we can communicate to virtually anyone anywhere. Be thankful.

I once held up a blank piece of paper at a conference that had only one black dot on it, near the bottom right side of the page. I asked people in the audience “What do you see?”  They replied, “I see a dot on the bottom right side of the page.”  I then told them, “I see the dot as well, and know that I need to work on that to make it mesh with the rest of the page…and that the rest of the page is my classroom.  The dot represents the negatives, the students that misbehave, the things we do NOT have.  I will choose to focus on the things I do have…and be mindful of those that either need my help, or try to drag me down.”

In the old riddle where you see a glass with water up at the midpoint, the question comes up, “Is the glass half empty or half full?”  I say whichever you see, there’s always room for more.  Be thankful.   

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