1. Teacher Life

Checking Out vs Checking In

Just some stuff I am thinking about as I write out my ideas…

As much as I love learning and growing in education, I have tried to step back a bit in writing, blogging, podcasting, reading, conversations on education, etc. 

I still love education, but I also want to explore some other things outside of my work.  It is not that I don’t enjoy it as much, but just sometimes I don’t know what to say.  In some of my experiences, it feels that it is best to step back from things to gain perspective and some of our best ideas come from taking some time away.

As I am writing this, in the background, I hear a commercial that says, “I am not checking out, but I am checking in on myself.” (I have no idea what commercial it was!) I like that idea, and it makes a lot of sense. It has been good for me and my mental health.

I have many conversations with educators that reach out to me, and they express to me how hard this school year and the months prior in 2020 have been.  I have always focused on finding opportunities to innovate in education, but I know for many, the focus right now is just getting through their day. 

And that is totally okay.

Wherever you are in your work is where you are and where you need to be.  To the administrators out there, leadership is not always about pressing forward but sometimes recognizing and doing things to ensure that we pull back when needed to take care of one another, our community, and ourselves.

I wrote this in “The Innovator’s Mindset,” and it feels more true today than ever:

Take care of each other, and the “stuff” will get done. But if we worry too much about the “stuff,” we are going to lose one another.

Since my focus for the last several years has been on the topic of innovation, how can we consider better solutions in the following areas that might be considered for conversations:

  1. How do we help people feel supported when they are also feeling extremely isolated and overwhelmed?
  2. How do we find ways to bring joy to our classroom while many are struggling with a lack of personal connection they are feeling amongst their students and their colleagues, and even themselves?
  3. How do we address the issues we face in education with student and educator well-being instead of creating add-on initiatives to address these areas?

Many places are doing great with the above, and if you want to share some strategies in the comments, that would be greatly appreciated!  I just know that if we are going to “innovate” right now, let’s focus less on the stuff we use for learning and more on how we together can create “new and better” ways to serve one another. 

Let’s focus less on initiatives and more on long-term solutions to ensure people feel are supported now and help them thrive in the future. As the commercial said, it is not about “checking out” but more about “checking in” on one another, our students, and ourselves.  

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