I am a work in progress. So, I write.

I am a work in progress. So, I write.

I logged into my bank account on Friday morning and realized that things were not at all what they should be. Someone had made charges to my account, and the money I had in there to pay my bills was gone.

I called the bank and got the process to reverse the fraudulant charges started. Then, I seethed. I was unsettled by this violation of my security, by the ease in which someone could take the money that my husband and I work hard to earn, that the upcoming plans we have for our sons may be jeapardized. I especially don’t like problems that I cannot solve…I needed help from my bank to fix this one.

I had a few quiet minutes to myself and I opened up my blog. I read words that I had written about focusing on what you can control, letting go of what you can’t. I read about being positive and looking for the good in even the strangest places. I read about waiting for the storm to pass, and how things that seem horrible right now don’t seem so bad in a few hours, days.

Sometimes my attitude stinks, sometimes I need reminders, and this is just one of the reasons I am so grateful that I started to blog. I write to hold myself accountable, I write to lift expectations for myself, and I write to share the method to my madness with others.

So, I followed my own advice and focused on the positive and what I could control. I still wasn’t happy about the violation and fraud, but I was pleased that I discovered the charges right away and that I had help to get them reversed. It is still a work in progress.

I am still a work in progress, always.

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Fill Your Mojo This Summer

Fill Your Mojo This Summer

Mojo is the moment when we do something that’s purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it.

-Marshall Goldsmith

Summertime is the perfect time to fill your cup of mojo! Here are TEN surefire ways from the Compelled Tribe to keep or get back your mojo this summer.

Exercise – @Jennifer_Hogan

I find that when I get to exercise, it keeps me motivated, energized, and confident. Exercise is a time when I can disconnect from the world and just be “inside my head.” It allows time for ideas to percolate without interruption… time that I value and appreciate. It also provides the whitespace I need as an introvert. For me, it encourages creativity and problem-solving while the endorphins are being released! Done consistently, it’s a true mojo-maker!

Connecting – @jon_wennstrom

For me, I draw energy from being around positive people. Connecting with educators during summer learning sessions, sharing and learning from others on Twitter about books we’ve read, and of course blogging and reading blogs. I’m definitely an extrovert and being around other educators helps inspire me and always leads to new ideas to implement and helps me keep my mojo!

Theater- @sandeeteach

I love Broadway musicals, plays, and other theatrical productions. It’s a way for me to escape and immerse myself in a story. One of my favorite theaters spoofs popular shows. For example, this year two of the shows will be “Indiana Bones Raiders of the Wal-Mart” and “Captain American Fork The Worst Avenger”. (American Fork is the city where I grew up.) The actors and actresses are masters of improvisation which makes for a night of laughter. Another favorite theater performs in the round which is always a delightful experience. There are beautiful theaters in downtown Salt Lake City for Broadway musicals and outdoor shows in many local communities. For a few hours, I can lose myself in another world. But upon further reflection, I always relate the experience to teaching because that’s just what teachers do. We get ideas that benefit our students from everywhere.

Find a good read, or two – @Vroom6

There are lots of ways to find joy and rejuvenate during the summer months. And, I am all about work hard, play hard. With that, one of the greatest joys I get from the summer months, and a way in which I keep my mojo running full steam ahead, is by catching up on some of that much needed reading that took a back seat during the school year. Often times the days we are in session with students and teachers are filled with more scripted reading and writing. So for me, it is the summer months that I get to find that much anticipated new release on best practices in our field. Whether striving to become a better leader, or a better learner, it is the books that I carry with me to the beach, the pool or the park that I enjoy the most.

Dream big together – @allysonapsey

When my mojo needs a pick me up, I dream about what could be for our students, but I don’t do it alone. Just like everyone else, I find myself focusing on the trees rather than the forest from time to time. When monotony sets in, I push back by collaborating with the amazing teachers I work with. I am astounded after each conversation–we feed off each other, we divide and conquer, and we multiply our creativity for the sake of our students. Through these type of conversations this year, we came up with an amazing service learning project, we started plans for a Makerspace, we piloted new reading initiatives, we shared professional reading that has inspired us and so much more. While we are dreaming big together, we are building stronger relationships, laughing, and challenging each other.

Pause and Reflect – @KarenWoodEDU

When my mojo needs some rejuvenation, (and it sometimes does), I first take a few minutes to reflect. I find that sometimes my initial desire to “rejuvenate my mojo” may have my efforts focussed in the wrong areas or in areas which may not be productive for educators or students in the long run. Reflection leads to focus and clarity. From clarity goals can be set and then the fun begins! Once my goals are established I jump in full force and do so with collaborative efforts. It is very important that the shared vision of success is truly understood by all. The last strategy I feel is essential for rejuvenating mojos is time to step away from work. I admittedly do not do this well, however I find when I can clear my head (by going to the beach, going for a walk, kayaking, swimming, or practicing yoga/meditation, etc.) I return refreshed, focussed, and ready to ramp up my mojo and the mojos of others around me.

Get into some music! -@PrincipalStager

I was a music major in college and a music educator prior to becoming a principal. Whenever I need to get my mojo back or need to decompress, I find a piano and PLAY. I play in a group at my church so I have the opportunity to play rather often. I understand not everyone has the ability to sit down and play a musical instrument, but when I don’t have a piano to play, I drive in my car or just put my headphones in and JAM! There is nothing like a great playlist of uplifting and energetic music to get your energy back and your cup overflowing! This is my sure-fire way to get back on track.

Make a “bucket list” – @jodiepierpoint

I decided to make a “bucket list” of things I wanted to accomplish within a year, but I’m finding summer is a perfect time to accomplish them. Things such as volunteering and baking cookies for friends have been real pick me ups! Training for a quarter marathon has led into a half, simply because I’m out with great friends chatting while I’m doing it. I check my list all the time, call a friend, and pick an activity to do – it’s a great way to rejuvenate not only myself, but others too!

“What if People” & Quiet Time -@Debralcamp

I do my best thinking when I am with people that like to say “what if”. There is something about the words “what if” that allows walls to come down. When discussions are lead with the words “what if” it takes away the threat of there being wrong answers and allows for brainstorming to happen in a way that doesn’t in a lot of conversations. I find it very motivating to be pushed and pulled by other people’s thoughts and ideas. Positive energy comes when people work together and create as a group. There is a collective product that is created as well. I find on the flip side that quiet time and reflection after being with “what if people” takes me to a space in my head where more ideas can be generated. Revisiting and reflecting again with the same group consistently allows for new ideas to develop and to be tried. (They don’t always work but the process sure is fun and motivating.)

Balance – @Abond013
Often times when I am feeling overwhelmed, I find that I need to prioritize. It is important for educators in any role to find time to take care of themselves. We need to give students our best and that is challenging when we are running on empty. Besides exercising, traveling, and spending time with family or friends, I find that fueling my passion keeps me going. For example, if you are passionate about literacy, continue to take interest and learn more. Surround yourself with people who share your passion.

Just wait, the storm will pass

Just wait, the storm will pass

Just wait Allyson. The storm will pass.

I came home and noticed a towel in a strange place…under an artificial plant on my favorite little side table. Hmmm…

Upon further investigation I saw that someone had watered my fake plant and left the towel there to soak up the water. The table had been damaged by the wet towel. I sighed.

I asked my sons if they had watered the fake plant. They said no, so it must have been my husband. Inside I felt a storm brewing. I was really excited to have that table be a statement piece in a room of our new house. Now, it was ruined.

Just wait Allyson. Don’t cause a storm.

I decided that instead of getting upset, I should appreciate that my husband watered the plants when I was gone for the weekend. I complimented myself on my fake-plant-buying-skills, must be a great looking fake plant for him to think it was real and water it. Maybe the cute table wouldn’t look good in that room in the new house anyway. I kept it in perspective and moved on.

When I woke up the next morning, I glanced at the little table and did a double take. The water spot was gone and the table looked perfect.

This is a small and insignificant story, but the learning for me is huge. Whether a big storm of negative feelings or a small storm, I need to wait to react, hold off on the explosion. Wait ten minutes, one day, put it off for a week, whatever needed to handle the situation in a way that is helpful for me and for the people around me. Chances are that I won’t feel like exploding at all after the waiting period. Or, the problem will disappear like the damage on the table. Or something will distract me and I won’t even care about the “problem” anymore. Or unfathomable evil will happen in the world and I will focus on being thankful for what I have rather than being negative about trivial things.

Just wait Allyson. In the meantime, smile, laugh, dance a little.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain. -Vivian Green

Photo credit: Click here

This is not a good-bye, this is a thank you

This is not a good-bye, this is a thank you

I am normally not a fan of tears in school. It breaks my heart to see our students sad or hurt. However, on this very last day of school, I do a little victory dance in my head every time a student sheds a few tears because school is ending.

When a student is upset about the end of the school year, I know we did our job. These students see school as a need-satisfying place. They had fun at school, they feel like they belong, they are empowered as learners and leaders, they had freedom to explore their curiosities and to grow as people.

Sometimes the tears speak to the chaos of their home lives and how much they appreciate the structure and consistency of school. Those are not the tears I like to see, we all want our students to feel secure and joyful in every part of their lives. These tears speak to the very important role school plays in the lives of these students.

So, bring on the eyes full of tears this last day of school. To be honest, my eyes will be filled with tears too. I will pack a few tissues in my pocket and celebrate this ending to an amazing school year.

This is not a goodbye, my darling, this is a thank you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever.

-Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

Featured photo courtesy of bing.com

Just Love Them…Every One of Them

Just Love Them…Every One of Them

Two boys…one is gregarious and loving. He gives spontaneous compliments and is a great conversationalist. The other doesn’t smile often. With this second boy, one cannot see what is beneath the surface because of the prickly exterior. 

Who deserves our love more? Who needs our love more?

Two girls…one wears the same clothes several days in a row. She struggles to learn, often forgetting what you worked so hard to teach her the day before. The other girl, she seemed to step right off the pages of a fashion magazine and practically bounces through life. She catches on so quickly and helps her friends.

Who deserves our love more? Who needs our love more?

Quiet students, class clowns, quick learners, struggling learners, students who live with two parents, foster children, everything in between. There is a magic in loving ALL of them.

We know in our hearts that they all deserve our love and need it most when they are struggling. Let’s make what we know in our hearts match what we show on our faces, what we say, and through our actions. Smile first, seek to understand, assume good intentions, and listen more than we talk.

If we look with our hearts…

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” -H. Jackson Brown Jr.