End of the day questions.

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Saw this cool tweet from Jason Kennedy yesterday. Really grabbed my attention. I’ve shared the idea with our TLI and principal teams.

Previously I wrote about the post-it notes we may leave around for ourselves. This feels different. More reflective.

As a principal, I used to, at the end of the day, run over the building in my mind to see if I had touched base with every teacher, every day. Not always possible to achieve, but an important goal to me.

Jason’s two reflective questions, “What did you do today to promote student learning?” and “What did you do today to support teachers?” are excellent! I would put those in front of literally everybody who supports teachers, which is everybody who is not a teacher. I am wondering if I can come up with any other 2 questions for myself that have more impact than those two. Different impact? More aligned to my role impact? Maybe not, but I might lean into the idea, with the first question, of changing ‘student’ to ‘educator’. I might change the verb.

“What did I do today to encourage/inspire educator learning?”

A concern I have, wholly based on my own personal and professional experiences, is that it’s sometimes too easy to stop learning and growing as a professional, which can have a real negative impacts on kids.

And then, I might flip the 2nd one around.

“What did I do today to support students?”

Yep. Those will be my two. The 2nd one, “What did I do today to support students?”, I suspect will most often be answered by thinking about Jason’s 2nd question. “What did I do today to support teachers?” Kind of a nice circle of thinking, questioning, and accountability.

I’m looking forward to hearing from some of my colleagues about their two end of the day questions!

Simple words.

One of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln:

“He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.”

A professional, and frankly personal goal of mine, is to not be the guy Lincoln was referencing. In fact, in my earlier years, my dad once said to me, “Jeff, you should take every opportunity you can to keep your mouth shut.” Not too much subtlety in that statement. And of course, he was and is right. Got to keep working on that one.

Saw a tweet earlier this week from Monte Syrie. Included this picture:

Simple words.

How absolutely great are those simple words? Three words that convey such a huge message. Sort of the opposite of Lincoln’s statement. The most ideas in the smallest words.

As we go about the important work of getting a new school year underway, as we are establishing the roots of relationships with kids, we should continue to be aware of our words. Any teacher with any length of tenure will know that her/his words will echo for decades. For good or ill. Make a kid’s day. Break a kid’s day. Potentially send a kid’s life on a wholly different path…for good or ill.

#myroommessage is a great hashtag and “I trust you” are wonderful, simple words that directly speak to a kid’s heart. For good.

Together.

Together We are Fife. Fife We are Together

Started year 38 as an educator in the same district I started year one in 1984. Couldn’t possibly be a more different start. Or was it really that different? Might depend on how I view things.

That idea reminds me of this picture from the front of our brand new, beautiful Fife Elementary School. Does it read ‘Together We Are Fife’ or “Fife We are Together’? It sure does.

Some of the same stuff from year one to year thirty-eight? The night before the first day, for all educators, I believe, is a rough night. There is a lot of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement the night before. I always slept way better the after the first day, but was also always super tired the second day. More same stuff? Everything is new, clean, shiny, exciting. New relationships that will literally last a lifetime are being formed. Lifelong friends are being introduced. Words are being uttered that will change lives forever. Everybody is a learner. Opening a new elementary school really drives that home! Parent drop off, for example. The learning that occurred from day one to day two is unreal. Kind of a debacle yesterday at a school that was exactly 12 minutes old as parents were dropping off, then one day later, smooth as silk. Everybody learned, adjusted, grew. Nice work!

Different stuff? Let me think some more about that one. The examples in my head might seem different on the surface, but upon reflection, are simply variations on themes. Themes of caring, quality, learning, and safety.

Fife. We are together.

Together. We are Fife.

Same as it ever was. Onward.