Where do you find your inspiration? What motivates you? What is your purpose?
At this time of year, many educators are on spring break. This is a time to rejuvenate and refresh but also reflect. For how can we move forward without first looking back?
Today I saw a commercial with the slogan, “Only those who dare, drive the world forward.” I think it was for Cadillac but during the commercial, there was a short clip on Easton LaChapelle and I was reminded of this video and quite honestly what inspired me to write this post.
How do we inspire our students, teachers, parents, administrators, and community members? How can we inspire students like Easton? How many of these students are in our classrooms whose delivery of education are regulated by mandates? How many creative teachers cannot reach children because they too are confined by rules and regulations?
I am not a rule breaker. As Superintendent, I am compliant and meet the needs and requests of the Department of Education in New Jersey and my local Board of Education. As a leader it is also my job to ask why, to motivate others, and to never stop until EVERY student reaches their highest potential. Here are some ways that may help you be inspired and get rejuvenated this spring:
1. Read. Yes. Read anything and everything you can. Read books, articles, and blogs. Try not to delete what is sent to you. If someone has thought to share an article, try to skim its contents. There must be something of value for your review. Challenge yourself and read material you might normally choose.
2.Go on site visits. Find other schools or districts that are doing amazing things and get a team of educators together to be inspired by them. If that school is not within local travel distance, get on a Google Hangout and arrange to observe what they are doing. Invite people with you who are naysayers that may find fault with your plan. It is better to poke holes in the beginning of implementation then to backtrack once you are on your path.
3. Set goals. Be sure to set personal goals as well as team goals. Write them down. Do not put them on a shelf. Use your calendar or other strategy to reflect on these goals on a regular schedule. Commit to change or it will never happen.
4. Inspire others. I always say that “change is a challenge” and I truly believe that. I recently read an article on using the “motivational wave” to inspire others. The theory behind this suggestion is not to continuously berate your followers, teachers, administrators, or parents with a barrage of information. Forcing people to adopt your way of thinking never works. You can lead a horse to water but you had better find a way to convince him it is good for him (or someone else) or he will not drink.
Rather, a “strike while the iron is hot” attitude may work to your benefit. Share information readily. When someone shows an interest in change or implementing something new, is when you should provide additional support. Help them ride that wave!
I hope everyone can begin the last part of their school year inspired and excited. There is nothing better than motivating students to be excited about acquiring new knowledge and choosing their paths to success! Remember that what great educators do every day matters to our students and communities.