Reminders for a New School Year

It was so much easier to admit to a problem then making resolutions. Balance has never been my strength (I think it is listed as an area of improvement in every work appraisal since I was 16). But on the eve of a new school year I’ve written myself reminders in hopes of finding better balance. They may seem silly to some but I am hoping if I put them in print someone will hold me accountable.

1. Do not forget to eat.

I find in the busyness the first thing that goes for me is eating. Much easier to count a can of coke as a meal or crackers and cheese as dinner. As I get older, my body seems to be revolting on me. I may actually have to bring some veggies in to my diet.

2. Get outside!

I find it hard to shut off. The list of things to do, emails to answer, new ideas or things I missed seem to loop. There are only a few places where I feel everything stops. Something about an upbeat playlist and the lake or walking my brothers 75 pound energetic dog that makes my brain stop.

3. DO NOT, I repeat do not check emails or tweets in the car.

I know this is the law and all but it’s oh so tempting when you are stuck in city traffic to look down and hit the refresh button. I have to remember it can wait. Nothing is that important!

3. Read something not required.

I love to read, or I should say I used to love to read before my M.Ed. While most of the assigned readings are insightful, they are also dense and challenging (Curriculum Foundations comes to mind). I need to remember to read something I want to read that ideally is longer than a picture book.

4. Learn something new (not work related).

I have said for years I would learn how to take a better photograph or do a 5K (downloaded the app in the spring). I guess this is the year.

5. Take a tech Shabbat

I was reading about the concept in Fast Company’s 8 Ways to Bring Sanity to Your Crazy Weird Life. Now I don’t know if I can make it a whole 24 hours at this point but I can start with a morning a week without going straight to my device to check in.

6. List 2 positives before a negative.

After every workshop or session I often go straight to what to fix for next time. This year I will make a conscious effort to list at least 2 things that went well before listing next steps.

7. Listen closer & Remember Names

I love connecting with people but sometimes in the busyness I feel I haven’t been as attentive in my listening. That to do list pops up again and I find myself listening for how I can help and not just listening to listen. This summer I have been reminded of how powerful it can be when someone knows your name and shows a sincere interest. Always an area for improvement.

8. Play more

Maybe it is the first child syndrome but I always feel guilty when I play. As the year goes on I need to remember that it is ok to not have to play, inquire and explore. Hanging out with 4 year olds and trying out new apps is always enlightening.

So what do you need to remember this school year?

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CONFESSION: I Am Not Wonder Woman

This is not the typical after conference blog post. Usually after two wonderful days of inspiration, ideas and connections people blog about what they are going to do or try. They all are very positive and encouraging.  Although I could write about all the wonderful inspiration and connections, the lesson I took away has been one I have been avoiding since my last blog post and can’t avoid any longer. So I’m putting it out there before I chicken out. Here it goes.

It feels a little vaine to compare myself to Wonder Woman. Goodness gracious I know I don’t look like her and definitely have a few lessons to learn from her about magnetic attraction but when it comes to my job I think I have often striven to be Wonder Woman. I LOVE my job. I truly do. People say it often but I really really love my job. Being able to connect, play, envision and plan with a variety of passionate educators around technology and learning in the 21st century is amazing. Whenever doubt creeps in that it is the right job choice, those who have known me for awhile remind me how perfect of a fit this job is for me. Having the perfect job makes me want to do everything. Everything seems interesting and important. I want to be  wonder woman that swoops in and provides the connection, the resources, the link, the right question. Missing that email, meeting or resource makes me feel too human.

This year has felt busy which is weird for me. I have always had a busy life. Balancing a full time job, part time job, masters, volunteer work, family and friends has always been a challenge but last year was different. The busy last year was tiring and I couldn’t figure it out. In the spring I stumbled upon George Couros’s post I’m Tired. It was one of those moments where the words on the page (or screen) seem to be directly speaking to you. It felt a little like someone had discovered my kryptonite. I actually replied to the tweet and then deleted it. It seemed wrong to complain about anything when you have the perfect job. And as he mentions in the post, often when I voice my struggles I receive many solutions. As nice and well intentioned as they are, I knew this was something I had to do. But instead of dealing with it I got busier.

So in the busyness of the conference and setting up I was in and out of George’s keynote and a slide caught my attention. “To innovate, disrupt routine”. It was like a light bulb. I’ve let busyness become my routine. In my pursuit of ‘doing’ I was missing the deeper more personal connections, missing the time to go deeper and try new things, I was missing creating. Ambivert or introvert, I know I need to take that time to recharge.

So the lesson I’m taking away isn’t a new tool or strategy but rather a need to refocus. It is ok to sleep, take time to eat, go for a walk and turn off my phone. I will not let busyness become routine.

I just have to admit I am not Wonder Woman first.

Stay tuned, new school year’s resolutions to come!