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Making Your Mark

 

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Our theme for this year, as designed by a student, is “Make Your Mark”. I think this is such a great theme for a new year—so full of possibility and opportunity! Isn’t that something we all want to do? Our students want to do that, as well. To make a difference. Change the world. Inspire others. Making our mark to me means to keep discovering who we are and why we are here, and keep making sure that what we do means something.

Maybe you are a brand new teacher. And maybe you’re afraid you won’t be able to make your mark because you aren’t quite sure you know what you are doing. And you, first year teacher, will have days when you start to question if you are making a difference. You’ll wonder if you should even be teaching at all. And yes, you’ll probably have days when you cry!  But you will also have days when you laugh out loud. And days when you see those light bulbs go on! When that one student who you thought you would never reach, thanks you for not giving up and you realize you are exactly where you are supposed to be—doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And you’ll realize that even though you are a brand new teacher, you are indeed making your mark.

Or maybe you are a veteran teacher given a new program to learn and you are feeling the uncomfortable feeling we sometimes feel when we take risks like that. And maybe you’re afraid you won’t be able to make your mark because you aren’t quite sure you know what you are doing. And you, veteran teacher, will have days when you start to question if you are making a difference. You’ll wonder if you should even be teaching at all. You might even have days when you cry.  But then, you will have days when you laugh out loud. And days when you see those light bulbs go on! When that one student who you thought you would never reach, thanks you for not giving up and you realize you are exactly where you are supposed to be—doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And you’ll realize that even though you are a veteran teacher, you are indeed making your mark.

I have a list of goals for myself going into the year and one of the goals I am really going to focus on is giving teachers more meaningful feedback. This is an area in which I need to grow. So when I think about making my mark this year I think in terms of instructional coaching and my role in the area of teacher growth.  Developing deeper, richer relationships with our families is another area that I would like to put focus on this year. These are just a couple of examples of how I am thinking about our school theme and how I might apply it in my role as an AP. And if those are the marks I make, I think they will be fine ones, indeed.

The thing is, nobody’s mark will look the same. We are not on the same journey. We might dream similar dreams or share common visions. But our journeys, our “marks”, will look different simply because of where we are and with whom we are interacting. But we can each make our mark and in doing so, have a tremendous impact on our students, our communities, and each other. We end up giving what we are meant to give; at least, that is how I see it. What a difference we can make in our world if we all commit to making our marks this year…whatever those may be.

I don’t know if you are a new teacher, a veteran teacher, or somewhere in between. Maybe you are a new administrator or a veteran administrator. But my wish for you is that, no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing,  you will make your mark this year.

And that it will be a fine one, indeed.

 

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