Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Top 3 Tips for the New School Year

All across the country summer is giving way to autumn, swimming pool fun is being pushed aside to make way for weekend football games. School supplies are being stocked and re-stocked in stores, and the school bell is ringing. It is the start of school!

Some school districts begin in late July and some begin the new year after Labor Day. It does not matter who you are or where you are from... one thing remains, it is a new beginning for us all. If you are teacher, you get a new set of students, a new lesson plan book, and a new calendar. If you are a parent, you get a front row seat in the viewing of your child starting a new year. This could be the year your child "breaks through!" If you are a student, you can forget about your past failures and struggles and start anew. Teachers, Parents, and students ranging from pre-K all the way to adults learners can benefit from these three tips:

1). Get back in touch with the "Why?" for school. We all know "what" for what we are doing: we are going to school... we are teaching, we are supporting, we are completing assignments, grading assignments, etc. We do not need help necesarrily with the "what?"

Most of us have a good grasp on the "how?" for what we are doing. We know how to teach, support, grade, complete an assignment, etc. We need little help with "how" to do what we are doing this year.

Here is where we need more help: with being reminded for "why?" we are doing what we do. TED talker, Simon Sinek eloquently captures this formula in his "Golden Circle" concept.

I believe if we get back to "why" we do what we do, then our school year will be the most amazing school year ever. Why is it that you do what you do? Why is it important? Why should you get up in the morning?

2). Stay focused on your mission and vision. If you want to look back at your school year when you reach the end and think "wow! that was an incredible year of growth, learning, adventure, creativity, risk-taking, and maturity," then keep focused on the mission and vision. Often, you do not have to look any further than your organization's mission and vision statement. However, if you feel as if the organization you are with (a school) does not have a mission or a vision you are aligned with... you know, one that hits your sweet spot, than create one of your own. My wife and I have a vision for our family. And, out of that came my own personal mission statement. I imperfectly set out to accomplish my life's mission each and every day so that I can one day look back and say... "I achieved my vision for my life." Here is a picture of three words that summarize my own mission statement... I keep this posted on a mirror in my house. It helps me remember the "what, how, and why" I do what I do.

3). Stay positive! It is a fact that you will have struggles this upcoming year. You will reach points of stress, distress, frustration, disappointment, and sadness. You will not be able to avoid this. And, you would be wasting your time if you tried to prevent the low points. Keep at it... have courage, be bold, and stay positive. Do not lose sight of the "why," stay focused on your mission and vision for your life, and stay positive. It is the positive individuals who make a difference. It is the positive leaders who are the change agents for the better. You can do it! I cannot wait to look back at the 2013-14 school year and see all the growth, learning, achievements, accomplishments, joys, celebrations, and so much more. Let's have a GREAT year!

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