One year later.

One year ago today. My world changed. The lives of my building colleagues changed. My lives of my district colleagues changed. The lives of my friends, family and neighbors all around our community, state, nation and world changed. Dramatically. One year ago today the world started to shift rapidly in response to Covid-19 which had just officially been named a pandemic by the WHO.

In the past year like so many people within education and all walks of our community, state and nation I have learned, grown and adapted so much. Shifts are ongoing throughout the pandemic. A natural planner, I’ve had to shift. One day at a time. Focusing on circle of control ongoing. Leading with grace, listening and understanding always even if its hard to focus on the positivity myself often — always focus on those silver linings just as I’ve been doing the past year even more than usual.

We now have three approved vaccines which truly is a modern medical miracle. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Our return to normal will not be the same as pre-Covid it’s becoming more and more clear.

When we do return to a world without masks, social distancing and mass gatherings again what value adds will be bring from this experience.

Slowing down, reflecting, a deeper respect of self care in the form of diet and fitness while working smarter ongoing are some of my main take aways. I have no doubt I’ll emerge a better person professionally, physically and mentally. You?

This past year has been extremely challenging for everyone especially our front line workers, medical personnel, educators and our elected officials who have had to make difficult, often extremely challenging weekly, sometimes daily decisions throughout the ever-changing landscape of the global pandemic. Offer grace. Lately it seems we’ve drifted away but remember we’re all in this together. Let us aim to emerge better – together.

Turning the page on 2020 — flipping to 2021

2020 was a tough year. This is no front page news. Professionally, personally. For so, so many. Myself included.

Throughout this past year I have been determined to focus on almost entirely two things — “silver linings” along with circles of control, concern and influence. (For more on this see the clip of Dr. Covey below)

What do I have control over? What has gone well this year? What are the main silver linings of the day? Week? Month? Year? They are always around – focus on those.

For me my parents recently retired near me. In the past they were several states away and if I was lucky would see them 3, maybe 4 times a year. Now, not always in a “normal” manner I’m able to see them weekly which has been such a blessing in general but especially during a pandemic when in person interactions are at a minimum often.

At work we’ve gained two outstanding educators to our administrative team and several new faculty members who are have fit seamlessly into our lineup and are going above and beyond daily during these challenging times.

I made a goal at the start of the year to go above and beyond with fitness and while the significant shift I knew I needed was expedited by lockdowns early on in the pandemic I’m forever grateful. Having fitness in my daily life again and at a deeper level than ever in my professional life has helped so much not only with my health but also providing daily motivation, peace and balance.

Those are just a few of the truly significant “pros” of 2020. I could go on and on. Appreciate what we have, what we’ve gained from these experiences and how we will add on to this for the new year and well beyond.

Resolutions seem to have more importance to people now more than ever as we leave a year that putting it mildly disrupted our lives and forced us all to significant adapt to sizable shifts within our daily living. When we make them (if we do) it is important to be both intentional and realistic by choosing targeted resolutions that will lead to happiness. This recent article in The Atlantic gives outstanding perspective on this very subject.

Happy New Year! Make 2021 truly great or not. The choice is yours.

Celebrating Marie: a mother’s influence on career, lessons and life

Today all around the nation and beyond we celebrate Mother’s Day. With my parents being several states away some holidays are missed annually and this is one of them this year. Phone calls, emails, texts, cards, letters, etc. aren’t enough sometimes.

During Teacher Appreciation Week I devoted one tweet a day throughout the week to an educator or group of educators who made a sizable impact on my life and career in education. I devoted one to my mother – but for several reasons.  https://twitter.com/BrendanFetters/status/859129638026706945

I’ve spent my entire life in and around schools in some capacity. Some of my earliest memories growing up in Ohio are visiting my mother’s school in the summer months to help her set up her high school classroom, assisting with drama practice, working on homework in my mom’s classroom after a long day in middle school while my mom and her teacher friends walked the hallways for exercise, the list goes on.

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From a young age my parents both instilled the value of hard work in me. My mom specifically demonstrated the value of working hard but in caring on a deep level. It always amazed me growing up how my mom was able to connect with all students – especially the older I became and some of my peers in high school would tell me how much she meant to them. Additionally in the years since I’ve started my own career in education and well into my mother’s retirement I’m constantly amazed how many former students reach out to her still to this day. What a lasting impact – powerful.

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While many, many educators made significant impacts on my career growing up, into college, career, etc. my mom laid the foundation. Foundation as a person, educator – teaching me the value of listening, learning and kindness. All aspects I try to put into practice with precision on a daily basis.

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There is little question that I would be where I am today without my mother’s guidance as a person and professional. Connections with colleagues, student/family relationships all of these vital aspects to what I bring to the table daily all were modeled ongoing by my mother – and continued by her today long into retirement. Amazing. I hope I can come to hitting the mark that she is at today when I’m at her age. She certainly set the bar high.

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