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?

 

 

Don’t Let the Days Go By

On the day after the kids’ and teachers’ last day, our Superintendent asked…”What is your personal growth plan? Where are you now? What can we do to get you there?”  At first, I thought…REALLY kids and teachers just left the building YESTERDAY!!  My frame of mind is still finishing the school year, and he is asking me where I want to go next!  I couldn’t wrap my brain around it, but what do I do…write it down in my everything notebook!  Days went by with those questions staring at me in the face! I let several days go by before I said enough is enough!  And then I found the day…The day I read Lead Like a Pirate!  I came to the chapter that SCREAMED at me!!!

conversations

If you were to ask any part of my tribe, they will say that I LOVE to talk!! I can talk about anything with anyone at anytime.  Although this is very true of me, I reflected upon asking myself if student learning was at the forefront of my conversations, actions, and activities.  After reading about ANCHOR conversations written by Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess, I had a lightbulb moment!  I needed to focus on conversations centered around appreciation, impact on student learning, collaboration, teacher voice, support, and reflection.

WARNING: I needed CONVERSATIONS about what’s BEST for KIDS!

CAUTION: This will not be easy.  You will need accountability partners.  You will need to reflect.  You will need to EMBRACE the goal. So…You will need to set GOALS.

goals that…

  • are valued
  • push me
  • are visible to all
  • make me reflect on ME
  • teach me to be a better ME
  • show my vulnerability
  • tell my tribe I want to be better for them
  • focus on KIDS
  • keep me learning
  • are a challenge
  • are achievable

If you are reading this, then you have just become my ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER! Keep me focused on what I need to embrace to get better at having these fierce conversations with my tribe and ALWAYS put KIDS first!!

Posted outside my office and soon down the hallways!

#ObserveMe- Bohler

The Best is YET TO COME

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Today is the day!  My mountain is waiting, so here goes the climb to the top!  Today is the day I start blogging thanks to my Twitter PLN (professional learning network). Last night, I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by moderators Connie Hamilton and Bethany Hill. (Follow them on Twitter or their blogs…You will Learn ALOT!)

You can even view the entire Twitter chat just by clicking here. Now, you may ask why I would put all this in my first blog!  Well, I want to record where it all started for me. This has been my foundation for starting a blog.  The insights of many other bloggers have helped me know where to start, what to blog about, what a blog should look like, and making plans to blog.

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So, where do I even begin…I begin with following 10 habits of bloggers that win! (See visual below).  It is extremely important to me that I give credit where credit is due.  I want to make sure to cite and hyperlink everything that I “borrow” from others in my PLN.  Social media is an important part of getting my voice heard by others, so I want to share on Facebook, Twitter, Voxer, and other media outlets.  I will continue to use my PLN to grow in my blogging and use them as my accountability partners for pushing me forward in my own learning.

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A big part of blogging is getting those thoughts on paper!  My mind races so much all day long while I am working that I sometimes forget what I am thinking about!  Does that make sense??  I have purchased these writing journals for me to begin writing down my thoughts. Started last night after the Twitter chat. This journal will help me tell my story and share it with my PLN through my blog.  It will become my connection to the world outside of Sheridan!

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The best part of being part of the world outside of Sheridan is being able to share with the people who also have ambitious plans, meaningful purposes, and big goals.  My PLN will continue to grow and with that I will continue to learn!  There are so many people who out there who have the same passion as I do about our KIDS.  I look forward to making this journey with each and everyone of them.

Now on to more blogging…

Our Hope for Tomorrow

IMG_1665Easter Sunday at church our pastor said, “They are our hope for tomorrow.” (talking to and about our kids during children’s church)   What a powerful statement for us all to take a step back and truly reflect upon.  Hope.  A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  What is our expectation?  What is our desire?  What certain thing do we expect and desire?  Those are questions we should ask daily about our kids.  What is our hope for our kids?

Influenced by my recent reading of “Lead Like a Pirate” by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.

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I hope…there is a passion.  When kids see how passionate we are about being at school with them, everyone wins!   Kids will work harder when they see that you care (and teachers will too)! It is our passion that pushes us to be better, to be inspired, to be empowered, and to serve those around us.  “Our passions are what drives us!” (Shelley and Beth)

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I hope…there is action.  A few months ago, I had a mission to get out of my office and be more visible in the classrooms so I could be connected with my kids and teachers.  I became intentional about my schedule by prioritizing what was the most important…Our Kids. We need to be part of the game not on the sidelines coaching the game!

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I hope…there are relationships.  Building trust helps to build strong relationships. Every decision made during the school day determines the kind of relationships within the school culture.  Relationships in a school culture are built on trust and commitment to a common goal.  If we are all part of the same team, we all win!

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I hope…there are questions and answers.  Throughout the school year, we continuously ask questions to reflect and find answers on how to make each day better for our kids and teachers.  Our goals, strategies, and plans should all reflect on how the decision moves student learning forward.  We must ask ourselves why, how, and what!

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I hope…there is change.  A growth mindset is BIG in education. In order for our kids to be the hope of tomorrow, change must happen.  We must be willing to take risks and make mistakes but more importantly, let our kids see that it is ok!

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I hope…there is enthusiasm.  Bring it Everyday. I tell my staff (especially office staff) that if I’m not smiling then we can worry!  I can honestly say in two years…I’ve only not smiled once!  I had one teacher catch me not smiling and she said: “You’re not smiling?”  I quickly realized I wasn’t!  Kids can (and should) FUN while learning!

My hope is we all have the desire for our kids to be OUR FUTURE.