Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reinventing the Mission Statement

Last night I attended a talk at Fordham University given by Dr. Alice Wilder.

Dr. Wilder was the Director of Research and Development for Nickelodeon's massively successful children's program Blue's Clues, the creative force behind Super Why! and is Chief Content Officer for Speakaboos.

I wanted to attend her lecture mostly because I am convinced that I would have been a perfect host for Blue's Clues and thought I might chat her up about upcoming children's programs in need of someone with my unique talents (Alas, I never got the opportunity).

But her words were exactly the words I needed to hear as I work on reclaiming optimism.  She spoke of her personal mission statement and how her journey through college as a research assistant with a knack for listening to children led to incredible opportunities.  Dr. Wilder highlighted the importance of reinventing one's self which can mean making necessary adjustments to a personal mission statement.

And it hit me.  That is what I am struggling with lately, reinventing my personal mission statement.  My Ph.D is now within reach--anticipated date of graduation is May 2014--and although I will definitely continue teaching I also wonder what's next?

I certainly have the desire to reach a larger audience of children and am actually toying with the idea of simply videotaping my lessons and posting them on YouTube for children to watch.

Someday I would love to use my background and experience in literacy research, child development, teaching and American Sign Language to host a children's program (universe, are you listening?).

Dr. Wilder said more than once,  "It is your journey (thus far) that makes each of you uniquely you".  But it's the future I am curious about.

So many possibilities.  It's daunting.

What makes you "uniquely you"?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reclaiming Optimism

This school year I have become so sadly disenchanted with the educational system.

And that is saying something for someone who is as passionate and dedicated to the profession as I am.  This blog is a testament to the happiness, love and blessings I feel everyday when I walk into my classroom to see the energetic, welcoming smiles of my students.

I am a teacher.

I am an educator.

It has always been my destiny and it is my bliss.  Why, oh, why then am I feeling beat up lately by the disrespect heaped upon those in my profession?  Have my rose-colored glasses slipped a bit?  Am I just more aware of the manifestations of insolence that were always around me?

Who knows?  But in a society that seeks to find fault with teachers (and if none can be found they'll make something up) it is difficult to keep smiling.  In the jungle a zebra can never really relax.

But, today in church I decided to reclaim my optimism and focus only on what I can control and nurture.  And that is the day-to-day learning and interactions with the students entrusted to my care. Today I am reminded to keep my eyes on the joy.

It's the only thing that lasts and in the end it's the only thing that matters.


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