Are you a podcast listener? Enthusiastically, I am! I started listening to education podcasts late in April 2020 so I am relatively new to this type of professional learning but I have listened to over 50 since that date. There were so many great takeaways. The more I listened, the more I learned, and the more knowledge I craved. The hosts and guests were quite varied with inspirational messages on interesting topics. As a result, it hit me that there was no possibility I could remember all of the great quotes or valuable insights shared. Any aha moments or subsequent reflections would all be lost eventually too unless I did something with that information – save it!
Below, you will learn 3 small changes that will help you be a better educator as you continue to grow and learn from others.
We just enjoyed nine weeks of remote learning. It was exhausting but rewarding. Next week, we will begin a hybrid of in-class instruction for students who choose to return and a continuation of learning at home for others. So many firsts during this pandemic – first time teaching remotely, first time staying at home in isolation, and first time staying away from friends and loved ones to keep us all safe. I recognize there are many more firsts we have experienced. The next first time is teaching seven students in person while also supporting 17 others at home. It’s another change, another new adventure and that’s where mindset matters. How I approach this will affect my thoughts and feelings about it. Is it a problem, challenge or opportunity?
In a very short period of time, everyone around the world has had to adapt to something new, something different. How well we adapt to that change can be determined by our outlook about it. What is it we tell ourselves about this new situation? Is it a problem? Is it a challenge? Or is it an opportunity – a possibility of making the situation the best situation possible?
After sharing about the word “welcome” in my first post, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss how we continue to make our students and parents feel welcome at a time when we cannot see them face to face like we used to. How do we continue to build community with purpose and intention?
Community of Learners
We are using OneNote in Office 365 as our platform for receiving and recording daily tasks but regardless of the platform you are using, there are ways to adapt these ideas. Here are some things I started doing with my students since remote learning began (some ideas evolved over time):
Warmest welcome to you! I started with “welcome” as my very first word for a few reasons. First, it’s a friendly greeting to openly invite you to my blog. I’m thrilled you are here!
Second, it is one of the words I stand by as I live my life as a daughter, sister, relative, friend, teacher, colleague, wife, mother, teammate, volunteer, and ringette coach, which are all roles I gained one by one over my lifetime. Each role has given me opportunities to learn more about myself and my place in relation to others. It is through these relationships that I have discovered one of my greatest passions and that is people. I love making people feel like they are “welcome” in my life by giving welcoming hello greetings, which often include big hugs (where appropriate) or at minimum a genuine heartfelt smile because I am happy to see them. Each time you see someone for the first time that day, it is an opportunity to make them feel like they matter and you are happy to see them so why not express it that way? It might be just the very thing they needed at that moment. There’s more to being welcoming besides the greeting. It’s the practice of being welcoming, which I will elaborate on in a future post. Both bring me great joy.
The third reason is the phrase “You’re welcome”. It’s one of my favourite things to say because it means I have done something to warrant a “thank you.” Maybe it was a compliment, a gesture, a helping hand, or a gift but something I did offered an opportunity to make a difference, big or small. Regardless, a positive interaction or exchange of something happened, and as I’ve said to many, “It makes me happy to help.” And it truly does.
So, “welcome” as a word has multiple significance to me. Thank you for reading my thoughts. I am looking forward to working together to better ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Please leave a comment to connect!