This post is week 5 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.
Big Hairy Audacious Goal
What is your BHAG for next school year?
See Big Hairy Audacious Goal by the BHAG (“Bee-HAG”) concept from Built to Last by Jim Collins.
My ongoing BHAG
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.
This goal is not achieved as one huge goal to achieve after setting small goals.
No, this goal will arrive in small moments that nudge your heart or in bits of in your face moments that challenge your space and your heart.
Nudging the Heart
When the walk through class comes and that child hasn’t started his/her work again today: it’s deep breath time for kindness, for digging into where the “stuck” is, and for being bold enough to ask gentle questions to nudge the child to speak and discover solutions together.
- the always late student
- the student who never wants to go outside
- the student who always complains
There are so many personalities in our classrooms and our best bet at engaging students is to find connections– to be kind in our reactions and bold in our expectations. And the same is true for our parents, who truly do want the best for their kids.
Note: Our kindness does not mean we lower expectations, but rather discover another way towards success. We appreciate who they are as a person. See MiddleWeb and Bill Ferriter’s The Best Innovation Ever. That’s the be bold part– believe in their success and find a way through their issues.
Challenging Your Space
I’m grounded in my research: I know what and why I teach the way I do. That means sometimes I need to be bold and speak up when situations or mandates contradict those pedagogies. That doesn’t mean “no,” but it does mean a collaborative conversation to clarify the goals and meet those expectations. In my 31 years of teaching, providing that sound research, engaging in conversations, and collaborating to meet mutual goals for students with the resulting revision has always been accepted. It’s about the kindness of respect and the respect of boldness.
Sometimes it’s the students’ space that’s challenged, and then the goal is guiding students to be bold to respectfully and kindly work to create a space that mutually meets everyone’s needs. I’m thinking of rules at recess and for classrooms that result from blanket rules when most kids are not the cause of the situation. That could be food, snacks, recess games, snowballs. Or it could be a curricular issue, such as providing culturally appropriate content and processes. Students must be part of the solutions of problems, the creation of rules, and input into curriculum.
In my personal life these days, I’m being bolder, but hopefully still kind in speaking truth to propaganda shared with me. These are the true in your face issues that I fact check and return what I find as an “I wonder” response. I also don’t share memes and such that stir emotions — I don’t want to be part of the disinformation and misinformation. I do share news from the usual, reputable newspapers and nonpartisan organizations. I think we must be bold in our search for the truth and kind in our presentations of it. Truly, we have differing views of the world, but we can find common ground if we’re willing to look at both the facts and the stories that result from those facts — because people living through ‘facts’ and adapting to help all is what builds a society; civilization exists when we work together. If we don’t, our society is chaos and war. I want better for my great-grandchildren.
I think citizenship is being bold to speak up and kind to find solutions.
Today, in the Twitter stream, I discovered this quote in a tweet. It’s a quote by Richard Wagamese, an Ojibwe storyteller, which helps us understand that we need to be bold to ask the questions and share the stories needed to uphold our humanity and community:
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.
Sheri, what a treasure you are. I love the way you articulate the application of your familiar, “Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.” It makes perfect sense in the classroom and in life, and it is so like you.
Thanks for inspiring us,
Hi Denise, thanks for your kind words. I think teachers understand the importance of digging deeper kindly to get to how to help students succeed each day. ~ Sheri