Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is this week, it is the time to give thanks.  I must say I love what I do.  Some of this may sound cheesy or mushy, but it's the truth.  I'm thankful for being Warner Elementary Principal.  

Three years ago I started at Warner.  I really only knew one or two staff members, everyone else was new to me.  As I reflect back on my first year I realize the number one goal was trust.  Building trust with staff, building trust with parents, and building trust with students.  My first year was a tough year at Warner.  There was death, sickness, tears, anger, and a lot of frustration.  All of that turmoil helped me grow.  I found that all of these challenges taught me about people and taught me about myself.  It is easy to be a nice person when life is good, the challenge is, will you have a strong character when faced with adversity?  Year one was tough, but I learned to trust, I learned that I need others and that I can't do it alone.

Now we are into year three for me.  I can now say with confidence and belief I love the Warner Staff!  I'm Thankful for everyone.  I view us like a family, families have squabbles, families don't always see eye to eye, but families look out for each other and pick each other up when someone is down.  I reflect often, one reflection I recently made was  trying to pinpoint the difference between year one and now.  One huge difference sticks out...EXPERIENCE.  I believe I am the same person that I have always been.  One key difference is experience.  There is no substitute for experience.  

I think back to my first year teaching.  I remember the year vividly.  I had a nice group of kids, Chelsea H., Brian R., Kyle F., Kayla H., and I could keep going (yes I still remember the names, it's a gift).  During my first year I believed I was doing a great job.  Then I sat down for my first ever parent/teacher conferences.  I had a teachers kid.  I'll never forget sitting in the conference and having her drill me with question after question on what I was doing to help her daughter.  Her tone was okay, but her words cut right through me.  After that conference I wanted to crawl in a hole.  My fellow teachers encouraged me and one phrase stuck out..."It's okay, it's your first year."  I despised this statement, I never wanted built in excuses, I never wanted to be viewed as a struggling first year teacher.  I had high standards for myself, I knew for a fact that no one was tougher on me than myself. The point is, there is no substitute to experience.  I grew from my first year teaching.  

I then compare that to my first year at Warner.  Adversity, turmoil, and challenge faced all of us.  My first year I was very occupied with staff moral and I found that I relied on others being happy to make me feel happy.  My days were roller coasters, if the staff, students, and community were happy then I felt good.  If I heard someone speak poorly about me I was crushed.  Thank goodness for my wife, many days that first year she just listened, she encouraged me and supported me the best she could.  That first year taught me something very valuable.  The lesson I learned is that I cannot rely on others to dictate how I feel about myself.  Now I have a new perspective, it is rather simple.  My happiness depends on things I can control.  I feel happy when I'm patient with people.  I feel happy when I, "do my homework" regarding certain situations.  I feel happy when I exercise for my own health.  Happiness now comes from inside me, I do not rely on others to make me happy.  I value people's thoughts and opinions, but they do not dictate my happiness.  

I'm thankful for many things.  I'm thankful for my family, my health, my friends.  I'm also thankful for a truly WONDERFUL STAFF!  Every day is my MISSION.  I love what I do, I'm thankful for the dedication and passion that all of you bring to Warner Elementary.  We are a team, we are a family, and you have all helped me grow and improve.  Thank you for having faith in me.  

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

*  It appeared as though everyone enjoyed the Jazz Band performance.  Mr. Bickle's crew not only sounded terrific they involved staff members and kept things upbeat.  Great way to start a Monday!
*  Some of our more lively students really reacted well to music.  Keeping the beat and focused on the Jazz!
*  Heard three fifth graders say, "I'm going to be in the Jazz band when I get older!"
*  Attended the 4th grade Field Trip to Local Businesses.  Very impressed with the student questions, attentiveness, and polite manners.  I was proud of our students.  Well done Mrs. Gibbs and Miss Hinkley.
*  Tremendous parent chaperone support on our field trip, this I'm very Thankful for.
*  Not sure if any of you noticed, but as I walked the halls Tuesday I became more and more hungry.  Our school smelled delicious!  
*  Pancake breakfast, Kettle Corn Popcorn, Turkey Feast, and Pumpkin Pie...Here goes the waistline!
*  We had the pleasure of Miss Kelly Gooch coming to Warner and talking with students about healthy choices.  One second grade girl asked Kelly if it was hard to rule an Empire!
*  Several good questions were asked, I especially enjoyed the questions about, favorite color, favorite team, and favorite food.  #KidsLoveRandomQuestions
*  4th grade singers!  Well done Mrs. Gibbs, that tune got in my head. #StayinAlive
*  Got to see some Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in a few rooms! #Classic
*  Got a kick out of Joey E., Miss Kelly gave him a hug, he couldn't stop smelling his shirt the rest of the day.
*  Three Cheers to Mrs. Fitz!  Students are loving music and we are all looking forward to the Holiday Musical on the 26th!
*  Wonderful Holiday atmosphere this week.  Everyone was upbeat and polite.  The energy level throughout the building was high.

Next Week At a Glance:

Monday, November 26th: Holiday Musical at CAC (Grades K, 2, 4)
Monday, November 26th:  Practice at CAC 9am for grades K, 2, 4
Monday, November 26th:  Art Rotation begins
Tuesday, November 27th:  TEAM Meeting
Tuesday, November 27th:  Happy Birthday to Laura Smith
Wednesday, November 28th:  Assembly in the Gym with grades 3-5
Thursday, November 29th:  4pm School Improvement Meeting in Boardroom
Thursday, November 29th:  Drama Club Performs "Charlotte's Web" 7pm in CAC
Friday, November 30th:  String Team Practice 4pm-5pm
Saturday, December 1st:  Happy Birthday Tammy Wohlford

Articles Worth Your Time:

Michigan Ending Public Education?

Is Michigan going to dissolve School Districts?

Legislature poised to Jam through Bills and take over Districts?

Snyder seeks funding flexibility...critics believe this is dangerous

What's Next by Mr. Bill Powers @MrPowersCMS

Off the Clock: Giving Students More Time to Demonstrate Learning

The Skills Gap shared by @educationweek

Videos Worth Watching:

Hilarious! Thank you Mrs. Gibbs and Miss Hinkley!  (2 min)

What's the Password (3 min)

I often hear that Story Problems are the most difficult for students.  Take the time to watch Ben Rimes video and try to enhance your Story Problem technique.  (14 min)  I absolutely love this strategy to engage students and make learning more relevant!

Pictures ~

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that you found some value in my Video Story Problem idea, and props to you for watching the entire video (or at least warning people about the length). I wanted to cut it down further, but there's just to much good stuff to share. If you spread it around to other teachers, please feel free to have them start up a Vimeo account and start sharing videos. I'd love to add any videos to the Video Story Problem Channel as well!