Running is in my blood. I grew up with a dad that was a legendary track and cross country coach and I have many wonderful childhood memories of being a coach's daughter. There has always been a degree of comfort in lacing up my track shoes and hitting the roads. However, I wouldn't say it comes easy for me and I most certainly haven't kept it as a consistent part of my life over the years. Though, when I gain momentum and hit my stride....it feels somewhat magical. My confidence gets a boost, my mood lifts, and the ideas start flowing.
I had found that stride over the summer months and was feeling quite awesome. Then...life happened. The west coast fires hit and suddenly I was surrounded in all directions by a ring of fire. The air was suffocating and somehow it felt like I was breathing it in even when indoors.
I know.... I know.....
After what seems like forever, the fires were over and the air was clear once again. It seems logical that I would lace up and hit the roads immediately. However, that wasn't my reality. I didn't lace back up and excuses became more excuses and before I knew it, I was going on month 3 of unlaced running shoes.
This past week, that all changed. I hit my peak of frustration. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and I'd had enough. When voicing that frustration, a good friend said this to me... "There is zero you can do about the days you lost... start today." It was the wake up call I needed. Later that week when chatting with my PLF in #XPLAP, I voiced the need to get back to it. My friend, Stefanie Crawford, sent me this tweet:
This side conversation took on a life of it's own and before I knew it my friends were all chiming in with support. My new friend, Laurie Wong Roberts, started a Strava group called #EDUrunners and educators from across the Twittersphere started jumping on board. Click HERE to read an excellent post by my friend, Adam Powley, explaining in detail how it all happened. Sign up for Strava and join in too!
I am on day 4 of my running streak and I can feel the momentum beginning to build. It is starting to become part of my routine. However, it's not easy. Today I woke up to rain and started second guessing getting out of my warm PJ's when I saw this post by co-author of Kids Deserve It, Adam Welcome:
It was what I needed to stop the excuses and lace up. I bundled up and headed out. I'm not gonna lie, the first mile I felt like stopping. It hurt. But, I kept thinking "I was able to get to 2 miles yesterday, I can do it again." I reached a mile and I felt like my breathing was more steady and I had hit my stride. Then I started thinking about my pace yesterday. Could I run just a bit faster? Could I match yesterday's pace or maybe even come in a little faster? Personally challenging myself, gave me the spring in my step I needed to pick up my pace and finish strong. I knew there would be a community of educators keeping me accountable too. I couldn't give less than my best effort.
As I completed my final stretch of the run, I thought about how this relates to so many aspects of life. There is always going to be an excuse. As Adam Welcome say's, "I run, but whatever you do just get out there and give it 100%, make it happen, it's up to you, no excuses!" I couldn't agree more. You've got to get after your goals and make it happen. Get out there. Find people who support you. Lace up everyday rain or shine. You'll gain momentum; you'll find your stride. Then, when life happens (because it always does) as my friend reminded me, "There is zero you can do about the days lost...start now! GET AFTER IT!
If you don't follow Adam Welcome...do it now! He is the co-author of the amazing book, Kids Deserve It, and his book, Run Like a Pirate, will be published by Dave Burgess Consulting in early Summer 2018. #RUNlap fever is sweeping the country. Follow the hashtag and be inspired daily by Adam and other educators getting after their goals!
A few months back I ran across this image that was posted on Instagram by Dave and Shelley Burgess....
It was one of those messages that strikes when you least expect it and stays with you for weeks to follow. I took a screenshot of the message and have referred to it many times on days when I need the reminder...
Just Be You
Tell Your Story
In this wild and incredible connected world we have the unique opportunity to learn from people across the globe 24/7. We can collaborate over a Google Hangout, engage in Twitter conversations, and join in on Voxer conversations any time we wish. We can chat with our favorite authors and those that share our same passions. With this rapid fire of inspiration coming at us around the clock it's nearly impossible not to learn and grow as an educator. Being connected has fueled my fire for education and challenged me to not settle for the status quo, but to continue innovating to create a classroom where learning is magical. It is not an exaggeration to say that my teaching has been transformed by the educators in this space. My PLN continually encourages, supports, challenges, and pushes me beyond what I ever imagined was possible.
As I was chatting with my dear friend, Tara Martin, I shared with her the image above and how it resonated with me. She brought my attention to the little words that nearly blended into the background of the image...
SMILE. HELLO, SUNSHINE. TAKE A LEAP.
I couldn't help but think of those little nudges of encouragement my PLN has always given me when I most needed it.
Smile...you are amazing.
Hello, Sunshine....I believe in you.
Take a leap...you've got this.
Yet, even in the midst of this amazing support and encouragement I can allow those words to blend into the background and begin to compare, doubt, and second guess the value of my story. In fact, my story has been so largely impacted by so many, I sometimes start wondering how much of it is my own. Where am I in it all? As I battled those negative thoughts that were once again beginning to surface, Tara, asked me this...
What's your "WHY"?
I went to bed too tired to answer, but with the question on my heart. I didn't spend much time thinking about it the following day, yet when I had a moment to message her back without hesitation I wrote this....
To share the power of creating magical learning spaces that are filled with joy and passion.
A place where....
...play is encouraged
...curiosity and wonder fills the air.
...creativity and collaboration are abundant and enthusiasm is electric.
...risk taking is not only encouraged, but applauded.
...students are not only immersed, but empowered.
...memories are made and passions are realized.
...every student experiences joy in learning and leaves school ready to chase their wildest dreams.
I realized my "WHY" is the fire that burns deep within me.
It's made up of a collection of moments and experiences that have shaped me.
It's my heart.
It's my story.
It's my manifesto.
No one else has a story just like mine. Yet, my story may be just what someone else needs to hear at that moment in time to inspire and encourage them in their own educational journey. So many people have helped transform and shape who I am as an educator, I want to give back and do that for others as well. The fire that burns within me might be the spark that ignites someone else's flame.
So ask yourself.....What's your "WHY?"
Just be You.
Hello, sunshine...Take a leap.
Tell your story.
This past week I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Shift in EDU Summit at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in beautiful Coconut Grove, Florida. This summit experience is like none other and one I will always hold near and dear to my heart. The hospitality of St. Stephens staff is unmatched. From the moment you pick up your registration packet Director of Innovation, Inge Wassmann, and her crew make you feel welcomed as if you were family. All of the special touches from the fun social events to the absolutely amazing food (I'm a culinary teacher...and I know good food!), made it top notch from beginning to end.
This is the 3rd time attending this summit in beautiful Miami, and I will tell you that the one thing that sets this event apart from all others that I've attended is the people. Shift in EDU brings in the most inspirational and incredible educators from around the world. Each year I attend, I leave deeply inspired and with friendships that are lasting. This year was no different, and I know I will be processing this event for weeks to come.
To give you a peek into my Shift in EDU experience, I'd like to share sketchnotes I created of the keynotes and breakout sessions I attended. Enjoy and I hope to see you in Miami for Shift in EDU 2019!
Downloadable sketchnotes on participate.com!
As our plane gained altitude and ascended above the clouds this morning, a beautiful sunrise emerged that was not visible from the clouds below. By rising above them I gained a new perspective as sunlight and beautiful colors filled the sky. As I took in the breathtaking scene, I began to reflect on my last three years as an educator. Prior to November 6, 2014 I was in the clouds unable to see how truly beautiful education could be. Why is this date so impactful? Today I am headed to Miami to attend Shift in EDU formally known as Miami Device. It was exactly 3 years ago that I flew in for this very same conference held in Coconut Grove, Miami. My life as an educator has forever been changed since that balmy weekend in November and I can attribute it to these three factors: bold risk taking, finding my tribe, and global connections.
Bold Risk Taking
Prior to 2014, I would not have considered myself a risk taker. I played it safe most of the time in life as well as education. I was scared of flying, scared of speaking in front of adults, and I shied away from leadership roles. Though I was continually trying new things in my classroom, they were well thought out and carefully executed to prevent embarrassment.
My first “big” risk happened the Summer prior to Miami Device. New to Twitter at the time, I decided on a whim I would submit an entry to a contest to win free hotel and registration to a new conference called Miami Device. At the time the idea seemed crazy. I was new to edtech, new to sharing globally, and new to this connected world called Twitter. However, I was inspired by my recent trip to Ipadpalooza in Austin, TX and decided I would take a risk and be innovative. I created an entry explaining why I wanted to attend using the apps: Tellagami, Thinglink, and Paper 53 and smashed them together. I then spent an evening mustering up enough courage to attach it to a tweet. With bated breath, I closed my eyes and launched it into the Twittersphere. I really did not think I had any chance of winning this contest, but what did I have to lose? Few really knew me in this world and I’d only risk slight embarrassment if someone of those people happened to see it. As weeks passed, I almost forgot I had submitted it. Then, the announcement came….I had won! I was going to Miami! Though this may not seem like a big risk to some, for me it was huge. I ventured out to learn something new, created something all my own, and shared it with the universe. I was empowered and with each risk since then, the fear diminishes and the courage grows. It is also safe to say that I have (almost) conquered my fear of flying and I absolutely love to share my passion publically (with adults)!
The "winning" entry...
Finding my Tribe
When I attended Miami Device in 2014, I traveled solo. I didn’t realize what it meant to have a tribe or to be connected as an educator. I am a fairly introverted person and am not usually one for mingling with groups of people that I don’t know. As I stood on the fringes of the Miami Device social the first day, an educator that I just had met grabbed me by the arm and said, “come with me, I want to introduce you to some of my friends.” That simple, kind gesture to make me feel included has stuck with me. Many of the connections that I made that day have been transformational and because of them I've grown exponentially. I am no longer that timid educator standing on the fringes at conferences. I’ve found my tribe and there is rarely a conference I go to where there is someone I don’t know. Would I be in that same place as an educator if, my now dear friend, Rodney Turner, hadn’t given me a gentle push out of my comfort zone? I have no idea but, I always keep that small, yet powerful act of kindness in my mind. Who is on the fringes and how can I help them find their tribe?
As amazing as it was to meet my tribe at Miami Device, what if we all left without any way of staying connected? Voxer and Twitter has allowed me to not only stay connected, but expand my PLN beyond what I ever would have imagined. My PLN has become my source of inspiration, encouragement, and support when I can’t seem to rise above the clouds of my current situation. They help me gain a fresh perspective by gazing down from a higher vantage point so I can see the bigger picture. The opportunities, the courage, and the mind-shift I have experienced from this community of educators that I call friends is indescribable. My heart is full of gratitude for how so many have helped shape me into the educator I am today.
Shift in EDU
In a few hours I will be landing in sunny Miami, FL to attend the conference that has made such an incredible impact on my life. I have no doubt that I will have many stories and experiences to share. Prior to 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing those experiences with the world. But now, I can’t imagine keeping them in. I know that my story needs to be shared, because maybe through my experiences somebody else’s life will be impacted too. It's worth the risk. Stay tuned….
Make sure to follow my #MD14 tribe, they are all phenomenal educators!
Rodney Turner, Craig Badura, Michael Matera, Jenny Ash, Brent Catlett, Katherine Burdick
*Co-Written with my girl, Tara Martin @TaraMartinEDU
The #GratitudeSnaps Challenge is as easy as 1-2-3.
Focus each day on one thing for which you are grateful. It could be a thing, a person, a feeling; it’s personal to you.
Educators, students, community members...anyone who would like to participate is more than welcome. The more positivity we can flood the world with, the better.
Create a GratitudeSnap by connecting it to something positive in your life. Add pics, text, anything you choose.
Take a picture with your phone and share why this image makes you grateful. You can use any picture app to create your #GratitudeSnaps. (We will be using SnapChat.)
Click here for a quick 3-minute video to show you the basics of Snapchat. (Just create #GratitudeSnaps instead of #BookSnaps.)
Click this link for many apps used to make #BookSnaps, which can easily convert to #GratitudeSnaps.
Let’s begin our 23-days of #GratitudeSnaps on Nov 1st, 2017.
It will last until Thanksgiving, November, 23rd. You're welcome to keep it going; there is certainly no "time frame" on being grateful.
The world has plenty of negativity, let’s spread a grateful attitude!
We have so much of which to be thankful.
Journal of Snaps
If you’d like to follow Tisha’s 30-day #GratitudeSnaps Challenge, click the padlet below.
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!