Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Green Lights

I've been on a roll lately - green lights every time I drive, bike, and even walk! Oh, how sweet it is to not have to slow down and instead just keep cruising...

My 2018-2019 school year is full of green lights, as well. The start of our year so far has been very positive - the message has been to "build relationships," "share your strengths," and "love your work." Oh - and another one - it is not expected we are checking our school email after 4pm!

Meeting with my closest ELA colleagues and work friends, the message has been, "Why not?" and "We could try it!" Many years this message appears and then drops off, but this year it seems it may become constant - thank you to our administration for this leeway, as well!

I'm not going to question WHY. I'm going to imbibe in the HOWs.

My own personal goals for this school year - to revisit when it becomes more difficult:

  • Students come first.
  • Do not compare yourself to others.
  • Don't loan your brain out to negative thoughts.
  • Do not boast.
  • Exalt others.
  • Be a role model for students and peers.
  • Be grateful for all you have.
  • Listen to concerned parents and share what you love about their child.
  • Remember that you are a professional - continue to research and share findings.
  • The kids need you.
  • Go outside, put your shoulders back, head tilted up, and breathe.
  • Know that you are loved and blessed.

I seem to have this feeling at the start of EVERY school year. I'm full of excitement and anticipation and... dare I say it... I'm ready. I'm ready with the ideas of many other educators, previous students, an open heart, and more research to come.

There will be challenges; I'm realizing after 23 years that the year will not be perfect, no matter how hard I try. Gratitude gets me through challenges, so I thought I'd make another list that helps those red lights turn green once more. I'm so very grateful for...

I could go on and on. I'm also grateful I'm in a position where I can slow down and stop at those yellow and red lights, to reflect and recharge. We can do this. Teaching is most likely one of the most stressful professions. It can also be one of the most rewarding.

I truly believe - with all my heart - this will be my best year yet.
I pray that is it also my students' best year yet.

Here's to the 2018-2019 school year!

What are your green lights this year? What are you excited about?

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