ARTICLES

Category: Leadership Lessons

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook I am one of those soccer fanatics who wakes up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch the matches from “across the pond”. As the rest of my apartment complex is fast asleep in their nice warm beds, I am up drinking coffee and screaming at the television in support of my favorite club. I can’t miss it! This weekend’s matches from the Barclays Premier League in England served up some inspiration to an education question I have been pondering over the past few months. Through twitter chats such as #PWCSedchat, #Leadupchat, & #BmoreEdchat I consistently hear the same thing from teachers around the world: teaching is an organic art. In other words, how are we supposed to standardize or categorize teaching into a cohesive style?

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Whoa! What a day! I love my job, especially on days like this when I get to be with kids the whole day! I had somewhat of a plan, but I definitely woke up knowing that I was going to bring it today no matter what!

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Why the pressure to have our students coding all of a sudden? It’s not like everything that they do uses computers, right…right? Wrong. Basically every recreation and professional occupation now uses computer programming in some way. The old emphasis on teaching simple machines is now evolving to into complex machines. This is coming to us in the form of ‘code,’ an increasingly popular term we are seeing at the elementary level.

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This guest post is written by Lauren DeIntinis @laurendeintinis, a 2nd Grade Teacher in Manassas, Virginia. Check out more of her information at the end of the post. My name is Lauren DeIntinis and I am a 2nd grade teacher at the FABULOUS Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, VA. I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA but have lived in Virginia for three years as an elementary teacher. I started in school as a Psychology major and wiggled my way into education on a very windy path. Though not what I originally planned on doing, teaching has become the most important aspect of my life and something that I can honestly say I am in LOVE with!

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Are you listening to your students when they have ideas for improvements or helping others? Do you turn these into opportunities for developing their leadership skills? What has really caught my attention over time is seeing individual students that have shown leadership WITHOUT adults giving them the ideas.

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My #OneWord for 2016 is believe. Although I am cheating a little bit, since believe is a word that we have been discussing as a school team all year! I’m definitely still focused on it for 2016! Believe in Yourself: If you want to make a difference in others, you must first have confidence in your own abilities. Know you can do it. Leadership is influence and anyone can be a leader at any time, but you must first believe you can make a positive difference in others. Believe in yourself by being you, but really be you. Be the best you that you can be. It’s so important that it’s written on our staff shirts and painted on the school walls this year. It’s even in our new cheer which starts, “B.E. Y.O.U. Believe in yourself and be the best you!”

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I’ve almost been trying NOT to use the term ‘grit’ because of how trendy it has become, but I’ve found it may be one of the best character traits we could possibly teach our students! Grit is courage and resolve; strength of character. It’s clenching the teeth, especially in order to keep one’s resolve when faced with a tough or difficult responsibility.

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“No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yes, I’m excited! Can’t wait to see the next Star Wars movie soon, so I’m catching up with the original series with my oldest daughter and then bam! A lesson by Yoda! In Star Wars V Empire Strikes Back, Yoda challenged Luke Skywalker to believe he could use the force to mentally pick up his spaceship from the swamp. Luke ‘tried’ but didn’t really think he could do it. So guess what? You got it. He didn’t do it.

WE LOVE KIDS. We love making a positive difference in the future of students. We love feeling like our job matters and that the work is worth it in the long run. We radiate absolute joy when our students show growth and success. WE FEEL STRESSED. Like…all…the…time. Stressed about the tasks that have to be done. About the thousands of decisions and interactions that we make every single day. Because we are taking on the stress from our students in order to help their lives. From decisions others make that affects our daily routines.

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Why spend a Saturday or Sunday morning to literally walk or run around in circles? When I was younger, before kids, before other life experiences, I really struggled to understand what the purpose was for walks and runs for the many causes that came up throughout the year. But as life kicked in, I realized how important it is to support others and to pull in the support for yourself and your family when you need it. “Community” comes to mind and what that word should really mean.