Making Others Better

Yesterday this quote appeared on my Twitter feed and it has stuck with me ever since that I decided it was time to focus on WHY I became a leader! #Focus #Why

-Why this Blog Post-

When I graduated from college, I thought it was going to be easy to find a teaching job since everyone was talking about the teacher shortage. Wrong! The summer after I graduated I worked at a daycare during the day and Cracker Barrel at night while living with my parents. Not exactly what I pictured. TWO weeks before school started, I was finally hired as a 2nd-grade teacher. My first year was a dream…25 kids (the same kids all year), hardly any behavior problems, supportive parents, great coworkers, and administrators I didn’t see very often (looking back now…that wasn’t so great). I’m not sure I really “taught” my kids that year but I survived. I left that school after my first year (getting married) and went to another school where I did not have the same 25 kids all year, a lot of behavior problems, just a handful of supportive parents, awesome coworkers, and still didn’t see my administrators very often (AND I really needed them this year)! I believe most first-year teachers experience what I did at my 2nd year of teaching! My question was…

Who was making me better?

Who was supporting me?

Don’t get me wrong…I loved my administrators but I didn’t feel like anyone was supporting me or making me better for my kids. This gets me to my big WHY and PLAN for becoming a LEADER.

Fast Forward to Now…

During my 2nd and 3rd year as principal, I had the opportunity to do just what I set out to do after my second year of teaching!

I hired TEN new teachers (all with less than 2 years of teaching experience)!! You heard that right…TEN!! I can’t say that I am not exhausted from supporting them and ensuring OUR KIDS are getting the best they deserve…BUT it is all so rewarding to know that I am helping teachers get better at what they set out to do. One of our “consultants” asked me if it was worth it…all the support I was giving the new teachers. My answer, “Of course, I hired her and this is what I wanted to do as a leader.” I co-teach, model, provide observation opportunities, and ask for support from other educators to help support and make our new teachers better! When we help our teachers get better, our kids begin to learn and grow just as much as the teachers!

If only I could help teachers ALL day EVERY day, then I would fulfill my biggest dream! Making teachers better means making students better.

-Bohler

#oneword2019

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As I began to search for my #oneword2019, I was reading Jon Gordon’s, The Power of Positive Leadership, and Jennifer Hogan’s, Courageous Leadership, and the word just kept coming at me from all different directions! The statement is exactly why I need to focus on my #oneword2019. I was texting my friend, Bethany Hill, how I feel like a squirrel many times collecting all my nuts and never really having enough! For this year, I want to focus on staying FOCUSED!

Focus On…

  • Faith, Family, and Friends (shine on each daily)
  • Being Committed (stick to your goals)
  • A Clear Vision (know my purpose)
  • What’s Important (put it first)
  • The Good (let God take care of the rest)

focused

When a person is focused on something, they’re paying attention to it. When a camera lens or your eyes are focused, they’ve made the adjustments needed to see clearly. When a beam of light is focused on a thing, it’s shining on that thing.
https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/focused

“You get what you focus on-so focus on what you want.”

-Lindsey Bohler’s 2019

Get Back to Your Why

Just like that my third year as principal is complete.  It’s actually pretty scary to think about how time flies or is it time flies when you’re having fun!  Although I remember thinking when I started…”Who’s going to support me or show me the ropes of being the principal?”  Don’t think so honey…here are the keys!  Go and Be You!  That was three years ago!  And now…I have to get back to my why.

Thinking of just the last year, I really need to get back to my WHYMY PURPOSE…MY REASON for wanting to be the leader of a school.  Many times as leaders, we get wrapped up in the meetings, data, and policies, so I know it is important to check back into my why.

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Going forward I need to take one quick look back and remember my why…

KIDS

K.

Keep Kids First. Become Learner Driven (then data-driven).

I.

I can’t do this alone!  Looking to always get the support of the team.

D.

Driven. Continue to get better at being better.

S.

Stay…Focused. Motivated. Connected. Committed. 100% Kids First.

 

What’s your why?  I challenge you to get back to your WHY before the school year starts!

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Let’s Flip Some Fish

With the week after Spring Break drawing to an end, it has been SUPER busy!  Started with kindergarten registration, followed by two amazing training days of PLCs, and followed up with another long day of kindergarten registration…and did I mention tomorrow is Friday?  I could be sitting around complaining about how busy I’ve been but I really need to…

Get back to the AMAZING training days…So I can Flip Some Fish…

Because that’s what I should really be focused on (not how busy I’ve been) because I have three amazing teacher leaders who are on FIRE.  These days don’t come around very often, so I am taking a step back and enjoying every moment.  Letting these teachers take the lead.  Letting these teachers do what’s best for their teachers.  Letting these teachers do what’s best for their students.

They each share a vision of making us all better learners and teachers for every student that crosses our path.  It is beyond words to hear the eagerness in their voices, actions, and emotions to turn our good to great.  When two hours into the next day, they are texting each other with how powerful a new strategy they used with their students worked.  After the very next team time (PLC), the lead teacher texts me with how her team had such powerful discussions when looking at the curriculum and sharing ideas.  Bringing new teachers out of their shells and letting their lights shine.  The other teacher leader immediately took action on our first task in our “plan” for implementation by creating our school self-assessment.  Last sentence of her text…”Let’s ‘Flip Some Fish.”

Oh, how I have waited to Flip Some Fish… And little did these three teachers know…they were chosen because I know THEY together can Flip Some Fish…

Give.

#oneword2018

Last year, we embraced 2017 as a family, so when searching for a word in 2018, we had a hard time with the word.

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have talked about how blessed we’ve been during 2017.  There have been tough conversations with our kids about how grateful we need to be for everything we have. (Us too!)

And just like a slap in the face…commercial and all… my husband and I knew.

Give. Such a little word with BIG meaning.

Give. To present voluntarily and without expecting compensation.

Give. bestow. deliver. dish out. donate. gift. grant. hand out. provide. will.


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First and most important in 2018 is to give our timeTime to those who need it, deserve it and ask for it.  Over Christmas break, we had more time to give to our family and did just that with the laptop even being dead when I went back to work!  Talk about time and memories made.  It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone!  To give time throughout 2018 to our friends and family will be a top priority for us.

As we begin the new year, we want to take opportunities to give back to others in our community who need us.  It may just be a little bit of our time but it will be well worth it to teach our kids to be grateful for how blessed they truly are.

As for myself and those I work with on a daily basis, I want to give more appreciation and thanks for everything they do for our kids at school.   As the lead learner, I want to be aware of how much I give to teachers to do since their plates are so full already.  I want to give opportunities to let our kids shine and share their story with the world.

With so much going on in our world today, to give love is at the TOP of the list.  A new sign hangs in my office that I couldn’t pass up on my vacation. It simply reads, “Everybody deserves somebody who makes them look forward to tomorrow.”  This year I want to give love unconditionally to each kid I have the opportunity to build relationships with, each staff member of our family, my kids, friends, and my husband.

So, I give this question to you…What will you give in 2018?

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Reality Generally Wins

Although I just posted today, I can’t help but think things happen for a reason!  As I picked up my new book, Fierce Conversations, I begin to read about REALITY.  What a follow up to my earlier post!  I was so worried about getting away from my goals…I really just need to come to terms with REALITY happens and it generally wins.

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While participating in two Twitter chats this morning, one might say “You got a REALITY check!”  Things have changed.  The world has changed.  I have changed.  Teachers have changed.  Students most definitely have changed.  Stuff happens.  Just when I think I have a good handle on REALITY someone comes along and keeps it moving.  Teachers, parents, students, central office administration, state requirements, national requirements (the list could go on)…keep my grasp of REALITY just at my fingertips!

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My point is REALITY keeps changing so why not take advantage of these opportunities!  Yes, that’s right opportunities!

Let’s face it… REALITY generally wins so suck it up buttercup.

Quit trying to control it because you can’t control REALITY. 

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Just a Little Tweak

After Sunday morning chats with the Tweeps of #hacklearning and #sunchat, I knew I needed to reflect on my #observeme goals I have posted outside of my office door.  Once school starts, it’s very easy to forget the goals you have set forth for yourself, so I believe we all need time to stop, reflect, and give things just a little tweak.

#ObserveMe- Bohler

Is student learning at the forefront of my conversations, actions, & activities?

Are conversations centered around appreciation, student learning, collaboration, teacher voice, support, and reflection?

How are teaching and learning seen as a priority by being visible?

 

Tough question as I think back to the conversations I have with my teachers.  After PGP (professional growth plan) meetings, my conversations with teachers one on one were far and few between.  This is mostly due to that dreaded word…time.  My priorities of being in classrooms came first, but I seemed to lack the conversation after the observation unless the teacher needed the support.  Saying this out loud helps me to affirm those conversations must take place.  They must take place in order to move student learning forward.  Meanwhile, I sometimes forget to have those conversations with the teachers who are doing a phenomenal job of moving student learning forward.  All teachers need reflective feedback, not just the ones who need the support.  I find myself just leaving them a short sentence or two, but I believe they need the face to face affirmation to let them know you have noticed.  I mean who doesn’t like to know they are doing a good job?  Time to tweak the conversations…

Let’s tweak the way we observe teachers…Each of our teachers has their own goals posted outside their classroom doors.  Some have the #observeme hashtag…some created their own #mydoorisalwaysopen.  Are we observing each other each week…well of course not, but we are making strong attempts.  The leadership team has been on one learning walk this semester and devised a plan for teachers to observe one another.  Instead of having a PLC meeting one week, teachers would choose a time during that week to observe someone who had similar goals.  At the following PLC, teachers would be given time to share and reflect upon their observation with their peers.  Teachers completed a learning walk form to provide evidence of their observation.  Can’t wait for the conversations surrounding student learning!

Just a Little Tweak…

ME.  I noticed today I needed to “tweak” myself.

Tweak the way I reflect (blog for my reflection).

Tweak the time devoted to reflect, learn, and grow (kind of got in a rut).

Setting an alarm today to give me time to tweak each week to be better than the last.

Do you give yourself just a little tweak every now and again?