Recalibrating…what really matters?

“Action expresses priorities.” 

― Mahatma Gandhi

Have you had a distinct moment in time when a window opens and in blows a cloud of dust that covers your life to instantly reveal the trivial and point at the vital?

Last Friday I had one of those moments and over the past week I have been recalibrating.
Nothing new or earth shattering, no new apps or software, no Pro-D or collaboration needed. Just a reminder to self: “Hey remember…this is what really matters.”

1. Start from love.
When I start from love I leave my ego, my baggage, my agenda, and my superficial needs at the door. When I feel myself getting angry or frustrated in class, I focus on the student or situation outside of ME. And by love I mean “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.
I often think in my head : “I love my kids.”
I want to tap into this and most importantly I want students to feel loved.

2. See EACH student as an individual.
Students can be at times represented by a number, a class, or a grade (like when I say: “Oh those Grade 12’s). I have to remember students are individual people with needs, dreams and aspirations. I need to embrace each one, look each in the whites of their eyes to see THEM.

3. Create celebrations.
Even the smallest celebration creates a sense of joy. I don’t have to hire a marching band but when we take time to sing Happy Birthday, the spirit of the room lifts.

4. Laugh out loud.
When a student said to me a few weeks ago “I love when you laugh in class Ms. Durley” the comment reminded me of how powerful laughter is. When I laugh it makes me let go of whatever seemed so serious and big. I remember anew…right this is life, it is fun!

5. See the future adult.
When I have the opportunity to meet students as adults, I am always amazed to see the incredible and capable adults they have become. They can and they will work life out. I need to believe they can figure it out.

6. Embrace the child.
Although I work with teens, who are on their way to becoming adults and who want to be adults, but I never want to forget that these are kids. I want to extend the celebrations of childhood as much I can.

7. Find whimsy in the mundane.
Heart Donor, Bio Elf, Full of Water, Nervous Nelly are some of whimsical names I use for students. Whimsy loosens what was tight and adds spice to blah.

8. Handle with care.
People are fragile. They can break. They can crack. I need to remember to treat each child like my Grandma’s teapot: treasured, delicate and useful.

9. Create space for ownership.
Who owns this mess, who owns this problem, who owns this class? Is it me or is it US? I have to give it to them. This is ours. I am here to help but it is ours.

10. Get the sillies out.
When the day is dragging or when students have ants in their pants and we do something completely unrelated, get a little loud and a little rambunctious. I am always amazed that when we come back to it, the focus is there. The surest route is not always the shortest.

Dr. Taylor’s TEDTalks is a celebration of what matters.