As educators, we all have a mission of inspiring our students to find their why. Yes, we all focus on content, but the real journey is about helping each and every one of our students to navigate their own journey in life: their why.
Core content is great and has its value and purpose, of course, but the real mission: guiding our students in understanding how they learn, how they engage with one another in the world, and to find their superpowers as humans – their WHY!
How do we define our WHY? A Moment, A Second, A Minute, A Day, A Person, A Conversation. We have moments every day that shape our lives. Whether we have noticed them, whether we have accepted them, whether we have engaged them to be part of our lives: they exist. How we choose to receive these moments is the way they can and will make an impact on our WHY. These are rare times in life, these are the moments that become our Moments of WHY. These give us our purpose.
Our BIG why! As educators our moments of why can define our entire life in the classroom. The WHY we choose to interact with our scholars. The WHY we choose to engage within our classroom. The WHY we choose the school where we work. Each of us has THAT moment.
But what about OUR why? And what do you do if your Moment of WHY has escaped you? What happens when we sometimes hit a period where we get derailed, we get lost, we forget our WHY.
The school year is a funny thing, a crazy creature that has its warm and fuzzy parts and it’s not so warm and fuzzy parts. Those warm and fuzzy parts hit us first thing in August/September and June! The not so warm and not so fuzzy? That usually hits us in November, February, and our dreaded testing season – the toughest times of the school year (not sure why) and that time of the year when we seriously forget or question our WHY. And during a Magical Unicorn Year? It can hit at any moment.
Writer’s note: A Magical Unicorn Year is one that you thought you’d never see. I choose to think of this past year as a Magical Unicorn Year. Filled with the unknown. Filled with things that I thought I would never see in my career. I call it this because it helps me keep my WHY. And now that I have seen the unicorn and shared this…you will see it, also, and be forced into being a believer in the magic of that you never knew was possible within yourself!
I was recently reflecting on the following two questions:
1. What is the new story of your life, the one that is starting to unfold now, the one that feels most alive and vital?
2. What needs to happen within you for people to be able to connect with your spirit’s gifts and talents so you can do more of what you love?
When all of a sudden that ingenious light bulb POPPED off in my head. How could I really reflect on these questions without the proper tools…but what were those tools? I know that I have access to amazing tools for my students but what about me? Why didn’t I go through the same journey to find my WHY (or reclaim it) like I guide my students?
And then the light bulb burned a little brighter and hotter.
I do that with the same tools. I opened my Thrively account and headed to my dashboard page and the assessments. I quietly sat down and gave myself the time to reflectively go through each of the assessments. Even the questions that are written from a ‘student’ perspective…I gave it my honest, reflective go, applying it to my life as an educator and not as a student, and it still held value.
I discovered that I am a Creative Thinker and Master Storyteller. I have strengths, Verbal, Assertiveness, Worldly, Creative Thinking and Memory (I debate that last one…insert laugh here)
I am Picture Smart, visualizing the physical in artistic design. I am Nature Smart with a competent understanding of the natural world. I am Logic Smart with competence in understanding of cause and effect, and the relationship of actions, objects, and ideas.
I have Habits of Mind that include Creating, Imaging, and Innovating. I can Apply Past Knowledge. I have a Precision of Language of Thought.
The time I devoted to journeying through these three assessments gave me a bunch of information about myself that I had not known or had lost.
In essence, I reclaimed my WHY.
The tools are there, I knew this, but I just thought of them as tools for my students. Not me. But I now know I was not thinking about everyone in my classroom. I forgot to think of myself as a learner.
The power of this is 2-fold. I reclaimed my WHY but more importantly I discovered all the ways that I interact in the learning, how I interact in my classroom, and how I interact with my students.
I found an even more powerful WHY than I had known.
Yes, the Magical Unicorn Year is upon us. Let’s harness that Unicorn and ride it! Being our very best version of ourselves. Claiming or Reclaiming our WHY!
As a parting gift I leave you with this, to reflect on the information you’ll get from the assessments in Thrively:
The poet Rumi talks about falling back in love with mystery and says, “We must become ignorant of what we have been taught and be instead bewildered.” How are you simply mysteriously present? How does a force you can’t understand – in a world of infinite beauty – drive your passions?
About the Author Jamie Ewing is a Thrively EdInnovator, Elementary STEM/Science Educator New York City DOE, 2019 Microsoft Innovative Educator, 2020 SpheroHero, Prezi Board of Advisors -Education, 2019 LittleBits BitStar, 2015 Henry Ford Innovative Teacher of the Year, 2014 MOHAI Teacher of the Year, 2013 Academy for Arts and Science National Innovative Teacher of the Year, NSTA Outstanding Science Text Committee 2016-2019, NSTA Nominations Committee