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Posts Tagged ‘2022’

Possibilities

I think I have always had this nervous excitement of back to school at the end of August. From entering kindergarten in 1978, and every year since to today, there is an energy as I wind down summer and turn my attention to school. It is a time of possibilities. I have written before about the notion of the day after Labour Day being the real New Year’s Day for most of us.  

People can’t get me down at this time of year.  

I find more than ever, the noise around us can be built on gloom and cynicism.  And so many people seem to revel in this negativity.  Far too many people looking to point out the worst in people and far too few people amplifying the best in people.  And if we are not careful those of education can get caught in this.

We are the possibility profession.

I remind myself that parents are sending us their very best children.  And these parents are full of hope and possibility for their kids.  For some it might be a fresh start, for others it will be about taking on new things and for others it will be launching them on a journey to new adventures beyond our schools.  

The start of the school year is the best!  There is comfort in the ritual that has largely remained unchanged for generations, but also feels fresh and new, unlike any experience before.  Hundreds of students descend on each of our schools and build communities together.

We have an ambitious agenda for the year ahead – one with big ideas around early learning and childcare, walking side by side with our Indigenous partners, a commitment to a broad view of equity and excellence, a hard look at assessment and reporting, a focus on the well being of our students and staff, and a need to ensure the innovation that has defined our district continues.  But first, before any of this, is the connections we make with each other.  The connections we make with the young people who arrive at our schools next week.  The thousands of students entrusted to us.   

I keep coming back to the possibilities.  It is what makes it hard for me to sleep at night.  We can help these young people do great things.

Wishing all my colleagues here in West Vancouver and beyond a great school year!

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My One Word for 2022 – FOCUS

There is a lot of uncertainty as we look to the year ahead.  It feels very easy to get distracted, chasing down rabbit holes, and losing direction.  As always, there is always “stuff” to keep you busy.  My life has been full of “stuff” this week as we get ready for a delayed start to school.  An idea that has always stuck with me is – if you say you are about everything, you are really about nothing.   And sometimes, I need some help.  It is easier to run from one thing to another and not go to deep on anything.  It is harder to have sustained goals that take a while to accomplish.  But these tend to be the most fulfilling. So, this year is about Focus.  

This is the 7th year of my “One Word” Tradition. In 2016, I wrote about Hungry and then in 2017, my first post of the year was dedicated to Hope. I feel both words were ones that were good ones for the times they were written. In 2018, I wrote about what I described as my desperate need in my work for Relevance, and then in 2019, it was Delight – a new twist on the power and importance of joy. Then in 2020, my word was Hustle, which was actually a good fit for what was needed as COVID upended our lives.  And this past year, my word was Optimism.  And as I re-read my post from this time last year, so much of what I hoped for came true – from vaccinations that opened up life for many, my completion of my doctorate, the return of sports, and some amazing experiences in classrooms.

One challenge for me is that my word is focus, but I am not yet sure what I want to focus on.  I have a list of “to-do’s” but it feels more like a check sheet than a few goals that I want to sustain throughout the year.   I am trying to avoid much of what Cal Newport from Georgetown University calls shallow work, work that is non-cognitively intensive tasks that are low-value and easy to replicate, like responding to emails, scanning websites, and using social media.   

While I am not yet sure what exactly I will focus on, I commit to adopting habits that make focus easier.   Any internet search comes up with similar lists, and includes many I do, but all ones that are worth committing to or recommitting to at the beginning of the year.  So here are some things that I want to do in 2022 to be focused on focus:

  • get daily exercise
  • minimize multitasking
  • spend long chunks of sustained work time off my phone and internet
  • practice mindfulness
  • have a clear to-do list with short-term and long-term goals
  • prioritize tasks

I want 2022 to be about doing some big things, both personally and professionally.  I know I want to write more, do more schooling, and do more public speaking.  I want our school district to be bold around learning opportunities for students. I want to be a better athlete and basketball coach, and I want to push and challenge myself and those around me.  

All of this will be about focus.  As I write this, I am excited about the year ahead.

What word is guiding your 2022?

 

 

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