2019

#OneWord2019

The #OneWord2019 hashtag is something I first saw on Twitter right before the holiday. I know, I’m late to the game and living under a rock and all that.

When I first saw it, it struck me as something interesting that I should probably do. I took a look at the hashtag, read a few posts, and then I didn’t think about it again for awhile. I know… but it was winter break and I was still in full-swing hiatus mode!

Even though I wasn’t actively considering what my word would be, I found myself having conversations with people about my goals for 2019. Thinking about the things I’d like to accomplish, both professionally and personally, and then I found myself circling back to the one word idea.

For me, the #OneWord concept seems somewhat like a mantra. Not necessarily one that you repeat to yourself as you meditate, but a word on which to focus your energy for the upcoming year. And as I considered and chatted with people about my new year, the focus seemed to be clear. So my #OneWord2019 is…

Intentional.

Professionally, I’d like to be intentional about what I am teaching in my classroom and how I am teaching it to ensure my students are experiencing literacy in the best way possible. I want to help my students become people who love and value reading, and who see writing as an exceptionally powerful means of communication. My teaching needs to reflect this philosophy, and I need to be intentional about making sure that it always does.

I will also be intentional about the way I approach situations, especially the difficult ones. Each interaction with my kids is an opportunity to ensure we both walk away from it having grown. Whether that growth be in our learning of content or our learning of one another, I will be intentional about how those interactions unfold, so that we can grow to understand more fully, and so my classroom will always be a place where learning feels possible to all my kids.

We are currently reviewing our language arts curriculum in my district, so our team is seeking to create a map that is accessible to all our students and teachers. We also want our map to allow for autonomy within our planning. In this work, I aspire to live up to Cornelius Minor’s statements in his book, We Got This, about empowering students to be successful in my classroom—purposefully designing a curriculum that has room for teachers to make choices for their students. My choices can then intentionally ensure that each kid has opportunities to grow and a voice that is valued.

In my personal, non-edu life (what is that?), I would like to be more intentional about my choices regarding my health. When school gets out I love to go to the gym for some “me time”, I am not the best at making nutritional food choices that help keep me healthy. I love some good french fries, mac & cheese, and pizza (insert obligatory Giordano’s joke here). But instead of calling it a New Years Resolution Diet, I’ve decided to simply be more intentional about what food I choose to eat, and slowly change my lifestyle to nourish my body and feel better. As a result, I’ll also be cooking more. But hey, I love to spend some time in the kitchen—I find it almost therapeutic—so that’s fine by me. If you’ve got a great recipe (think one I could whip up after school), send it my way!

Another aspect of life I want to be more intentional about is my obligations. I have a tendency, as many of us do, to overcommit myself and become insanely overwhelmed by my growing to do list. I plan to be more intentional about making plans so that I can be fully present in the moment, fully there. I frequently find myself surrounded by people I love, yet thinking about the laundry list of things I have to do when I get back home. Rather than spend a ton of time running around, I’d like to cut back on the number of things I agree to so I can truly be present when I am with the family and friends who I love.

A final area of intentionality is to continue writing, growing as a teacher-author, and continuing to share my passion with all of you. Through writing my blog and now for Teachers On Fire, I have evolved immensely. As a writer definitely, but more importantly, as a teacher of writing. I have seen firsthand the impact that words can have, the meaningfulness of having a real audience, the struggle that is revising, and the authentic connections that can be made.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for connecting with me and helping me grow this year. And most of all, thank you for helping me set intentional goals for the year to come.

Happy 2019!

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