I love the idea by Jon Gordon of creating one word for the year instead of New Year’s resolutions, many of which get lost or forgotten after a couple of weeks. This is my first #oneword year and I am EXCITED to use it throughout the year. When thinking about my word and goals for 2021, many of my thoughts focused on living in the moment, relishing in the times with my family and friends, or appreciating the things in life we might have taken for granted before the pandemic. As we enter another year, it seems more important now than ever to be mindful of the present, to listen to others, and to be aware of what and who is around you. Those are my personal goals. Get off my cell phone. Fully enjoy the moments with my husband and children. Watch my kids with their grandparents and appreciate every encounter. Find joy in their happiness with the simple things in life. Take more pictures to document the memories. I look forward to hosting a big New Year’s Day brunch next year, going out to dinner, decorating for big birthday celebrations, laughing at friend’s houses, and hopefully connecting with new people and traveling.
I also wanted a word that spoke to connecting with staff and students, especially with those I don’t normally connect with, consistently pushing myself to learn, continuing work on the school equity team with the amazing Traci Browder and Dawn Harris, and finishing my dissertation on the access and enrollment of ALL students in Advanced Placement classes. As inequities have become exacerbated in this pandemic, politicized world, this topic seems even more pertinent. Never before have we realized how our children are impacted so thoroughly by the divisions in our society.
To encompass these goals, my #oneword2021 is REACH.
Reach: to stretch or extend; to pick up and draw toward one; to extend to; encompass; to make an impression; to communicate with; to arrive at or come to something; a continuous stretch or expanse
For me “reach” will include:
- Connection – Deeper, personal relationships with those in my life and focusing on new personal and professional relationships.
- Discomfort- Stretching beyond the comfortable, especially professionally. This includes committing to finishing my dissertation, increasing my reach to other professionals in the education world, and broadening my experiences to do things I have never done before. Hearing my blindspots as discussed in this podcast with Patrick Lencioni and working to fix them.
- Purpose- Moving out of survival mode of day to day at home and at school and doing things that are my “why” such as spending quality time with family and friends, cooking at home, nature walks, and journaling, At school this is working on important topics such as standards based grading, assessments, student feedback, and equity work.
- Brave- Trusting myself to start and act on ideas. Being brave enough to reach out to new people and to put myself out there.
I made an inspiration board below for my word: REACH
The word also came to me because professionally, it brings up a lot of ideas that I consistently think about. For example, I often wonder in school, “Who are we REACHING?” and “What are we REACHING for?” Do all students get to receive the same opportunities or do only a select few, reproducing the social strata in the outside world? If policies are only reaching certain students, we must work on and be BRAVE enough to change them. Every person has the power, no matter the role, to start change. Also, is technology enhancing lessons to reach every student or are only a few continually succeeding while the others remain seemingly forever behind? Is the equity work we are doing in our district going to make it so all students see their stories represented in what they learn and feel that they have important voices? One of my goals for 2021 is to continue learning about REACHING ALL students WHERE they are and for WHO they are. What is your #oneword for 2021?