People don't care how much you know
until they know how much you care!
- John Maxwell
Years ago I was experiencing a pretty typical day. I arrived early to work, set up a few activities in the classroom, double checked my calendar and answered a few emails. Then I decided to check my mail in the office. As I strolled down the hallway I passed a few colleagues that were busy in their rooms. We smiled at each other and kept on moving. I finally arrived at the office and grabbed my stack of mail. I briefly chatted with our office staff and then headed back to my classroom.
That's where things changed.
As I flipped through the mail I came to a hand-written envelope with my name on it.
I opened the envelope and found a letter inside. I dropped everything I was doing and read the letter from a colleague. It was quite possibly the nicest letter I had ever received. The person thanked me for supporting her and lifted me up with the message. The letter talked about specific things I had done to make a difference in her life. Some of the things I didn't know I did, were things others cherished. She told me that she appreciated my energy and she is always inspired when she looks in my room and sees me crouched down at a student's desk. When you hear specific, positive comments you can't help but feel a warmth inside you.
I saved that letter and chose to pay it forward to others around me. I wanted to lift people up the same way my friend lifted me up.
For me, it started with my kids. Each week I wrote anywhere from three to six notes to my students. I highlighted one specific moment that I was proud of. Often times those moments of pride had nothing to do with grades. I intentionally encouraged them to try new things. A few months ago I bumped into a parent of a former student. To my surprise she told me that her daughter still has every positive note I ever wrote her. I smiled. Then she turned to me and said something I won't forget, "The hand-written note is a lost art."
After transitioning from teacher to principal it was important to get to know people so that the cards and notes meant something. Each time I sit down to write a note it takes time. The words come from the heart...not the head. Just last year I walked into a classroom and noticed a couple note cards pinned to a board by the teachers desk. I recognized those cards. It was another reminder that culture starts with caring.
Years ago my heart was filled because a friend took the time to care; took the time to connect; took the time to write me a personal note.
Culture is always about the people. I encourage you to pay it forward. I bet you'll find that it fills your heart as well.
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Monday, August 31st: New Teacher Orientation (New Teacher's Only)
Tuesday, September 1st: 7:30am District Breakfast
Tuesday, September 1st: 8:30am District Kickoff
Tuesday, September 1st: 12:30pm Safety PD at Bean Elementary
Wednesday, September 2nd: 8:00am Breakfast at Warner
Wednesday, September 2nd: 8:30am Building wide PD
Wednesday, September 2nd: 12:00 Warner Luncheon provided by PTO
Wednesday, September 2nd: Warner Open-House 5pm-7pm (Y5/KDG 5-6pm, 1st-5th 5-7pm)
Tuesday, September 8th: First Day of School!
Articles Worth Reading:
Genuine Connections by @Jonharper70bd
The Future Before Us by @Jeff_Zoul
Anxiety Doesn't Bleed by @JimDetwiler1
The Little Things by @TechNinjaTodd
@curriculumblog & @mattwachel
9 Ways To Make Your Days Simple Again by @marcandangel
Videos Worth Watching:
Powerful Tribute! The passing of a legend... (8 min) @TODAYshow
Life Lessons... This is brilliant! (4 min) @TEDtalks
The greatest speech a coach could ever give! (2 min)
If you love dogs, you will love this. Bat Dogs! (14 min) @E60