Friday, January 1, 2016

My One Little Word (Phrase): Be Mindful

Ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I'll find peace."  Spirit says, "Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place."
                                                                     -Marianne Williamson

When our team decided we were going to try looking at supporting our readers differently, I knew I had to rethink what I was doing.  Our plan was to consider students across the grade level, changing our view from the classroom to our community of learners.  As an intervention teacher, I wasn't sure how I could best help this work.  While I was already coming into the classrooms, this change would require me to reconsider the way I was using time.

As I thought about our plan I tried to think through what was essential in providing additional support to these young learners.  What really made a difference in helping them to make fast progress?  I tried to consider my experience in intervention with my experience as a classroom teacher.  I needed to make sure my mind was staying open and that I was headed in a direction that might support students so I called a friend and colleague in the district.  I knew she'd provide a smart point of view as she had worked as a classroom teacher, a literacy coach, and an intervention teacher.

When she arrived we had a narrow amount between my last group and my next duty.  We started our time together by catching up and then she considered our plan.  She thoughtfully talked about the pieces she found essential when working as a classroom teacher and as an intervention teacher.  She reminded me of the power of blurring the lines between classroom and intervention to maximize learning for students.  We talked together about the power in connecting reading and writing for students needing support.  During our meeting, I was impressed that even with the clock ticking in the background she stayed present in the moment.  She listened.  She thought.  She responded genuinely.  She confirmed.  She inspired.  There was something about that short time with her that was like a breath of fresh air, like a chair next to the ocean.

As I thought about our meeting, I thought about her words for our situation, but mostly I thought about the amazing way she supports others.  Somehow she listens deeply, and reflects the light of others.  Somehow she hears - really hears - what is said, and responds with genuine interest and curiosity.  She brings herself to the moment.

As she left, and I raced to duty, she returned to her car and came back with a piece of paper.  She had made a copy from a book she was reading, Book of Awakening:  Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.  She came into the cafeteria with a page she copied full of underlining and notes.  This quote caught my attention, "But wherever I cannot bring my entire being, I am not there. (p. 361)"

It was in this moment that I knew I was on the way to my new word or phrase.  I tried to resist the phrase, it was a bit overused.  It was a bit mainstream.  I tried changing it.  I tried taking parts of it.  Somehow, I always came back to it.  This year, I want to maintain the action of last year's phrase so I'm sticking with phrase and choosing BE MINDFUL.  I thought about "Be Present," but somehow that just seemed like taking up space --- passive.  BE MINDFUL will remind me to take action:
  • BE MINDFUL of my response in situations.
  • BE MINDFUL of the person in front of me and listen to their heart (not just their words).
  • BE MINDFUL of the gifts others bring to me and what can be learned from them.
  • BE MINDFUL of the way I use my time.  
  • BE MINDFUL of taking the time to show gratitude.  
  • BE MINDFUL of the moment.
Of course, it looks like I already have my reading for this phrase....and I've already started my Pinterest board.  

One Little Word 2020

As Christmas approached this year, I looked at the calendar and took a deep breath.  We were out of school on Friday and everyone was arri...