One word…

I haven’t read the book. I’ll admit it.  I have, however, seen lots of posts about it on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.  I like the idea of one word to guide my path throughout the year.  And so I started thinking about it…  There were many words that bounced around my brain and I thought I had settled on one over and over and then another would pop into my head and I would begin to mull that one over.  Learn.  Grow.  Inspire.  Develop.  All of these were contenders.

And then it hit me…  The reason that I was having trouble narrowing it down is similar to an issue I’ve been having in my professional life…and there was my word.

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Since re-entering the teacher world this year, I’ve been a little all over the place.  After such a long learning dry spell, I felt (and still feel) that there is SO MUCH I need to catch up on.  And so I’ve been dabbling in a bit of everything.  Reading pedagogy?  Yes, please!  Teacher leadership?  Of course!  Blended learning?  Why not?  Standards based assessment?  Sure!  Teaching like a pirate?  Sounds great!  Move my bus?  Please!  I looked around at amazing educators on Instagram and Twitter (and Facebook and Periscope) and saw them creating resources on Teachers Pay Teachers and presenting at conferences and attending EdCamps and blogging…  And I felt like I wasn’t doing enough.

Never mind that I’m still not completely where I want to be in knowing my curriculum content.  I’m still learning as I plan and develop.  Never mind that I still have all of the family obligations that kept me out of the game in the first place.  I’ve been feeling stretched and pressured and all sorts of unpleasant things…all of my own doing.

And so…  I’m going to FOCUS on what’s important.  I’m going to keep reading and learning so that I can make my classroom the very best place for learning.  I’m going to plan and develop engaging, integrated lessons that are personally relevant to my students.  I’m going to reflect (daily, I hope) on what I’m doing through this blog.  I’m going to FOCUS my efforts on the students that I have today and empower them to follow their dreams.

In my new FOCUSED efforts, a new TpT resource may be created.  With my new FOCUS, this little blog might gain more followers.  That would be fabulous.  If my FOCUS on reading and learning takes me to EdCamps and connects me with other amazing educators, then that’s a bonus as well.  I think that all of the things I’m hoping for will happen in their own time if I FOCUS on what’s most important and keep my students and my classroom at the heart of what I’m doing.  All of those things are lovely, but they are not the FOCUS of what I do.  I am a teacher and a learner at my core.  If I FOCUS on being the best teacher and learner that I can be, then only good things will happen.

It’s just so simple.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to figure it out.

I’m in such a good place these days.  I’m reading and learning and growing as an educator every single day.  With my new focus on what’s important, I think 2016 will be the best year yet.

(As a side note…  My word also applies to my personal goals.  I hope to FOCUS on my family when I’m at home.  I need to get better at unplugging from my teacher thoughts and FOCUS on being present with those who are dearest to me.)

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