It is a new year and as they say, "Out with the old and in with the new!" Many of us ring in the new year with resolutions for how we will change and improve our lives in the coming year. Along with many others this year, I will not make a resolution. I will join many others with the hashtag #oneword that is sweeping the twitter community. My one word is #listen.
Inspired by my friend, Matt Arend, a principal from Plano ISD, I will also turn my focus to one word. His is #moment. Matt's eloquently describes how important it is to take in each moment in his recent blog post. I could not have picked a better one word to inspire a new year. Stopping to enjoy the moment sounds so easy, but it can be very difficult to do. It is all of the little moments in life that add up to make our lives richer and better.
I will turn my focus this year on my one word - #listen. If I were to have a resolution, this would or should be mine. I sometimes get it such a big hurry to get things accomplished that I do not always stop to listen - really listen to others.
Listening to others is not always actively hanging on every word. Truly listening is not only listening with your ears, but your eyes. Listening to what a student is really saying with his/her body language when he/she is not completing work in class is one example. A look or body language sometimes says much more than words can express. Maybe the student is having a rough time at home because his parents are constantly fighting. Maybe the student is not getting enough to eat at home. Maybe the student is grieving or suffering from depression. It is easy to rush through a conversation with a student and just tell the student to do his/her work. Really listening may provide insight to really help solve the problem.
I hope to really listen to everything someone says not only with their words, but their actions and expressions. The work we do in schools reaches far beyond filling minds with knowledge. We are connected with each person we interact with every day. We are connected with students, colleagues, parents and family members. Being an effective leader involves the keen senses to notice and understand someone's perspective no matter what that person is actually saying or how loud the person may be saying it.
My focus at work (school) or at home is to sit back to really listen. I will challenge myself to listen to students, teachers, parents, and my family. I want to be the kind of person that is always an open ear to hear someone's cheers and celebrations as well as a sounding board for fresh ideas. I want to the person that can be the filter or cushion for venting frustrations.
I just want to really listen.