Monday Moanin Thoughts #158 Write A Message To Your Students, #Finishstrong

Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. A few weeks ago, I wrote about using the hashtag #finishstrong. I urged us all to view this time of year as not the ending but the beginning of next year. Earlier today, my wife shared with me a message she wrote for her graduating seniors that she will give to them later this week. It truly is an example of finishing strong. Consider doing something similar with the students or staff that you work with.   It reads;

To my Senior Students:

And so it is finally May and seniors are graduating. There are times it feels like this day will never

come and yet, every year, I’ve survived to see another class of graduates from SCHS. As we

near this day I start thinking about what I’d like to share with you. This year I decided to share

some words from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. She asks,

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Such a great question, and put so well! I love that she asks about a plan. I do hope that each of

you has some sort of plan. Not to say that you will decide on one and stick with it. That rarely

ever happens in life. No, the part I appreciate about the plan is that it assumes a sense of

intentionality. I hope none of you just let life happen to you. I hope you all realize you have

choices and that you make them with some thoughtfulness. There will be enough of life that

happens without any warning – I know many of you have already experienced this in your lives.

At those times all we can do is reach down in ourselves and respond based on what we know

about ourselves at that moment. But having a plan and being intentional gives us some power

over our lives and encourages personal responsibility. I hope you find the joy in responsibility. It

will bring you power. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #157 Happy Mothers Day 2015, Thanks Mom

Happy early Monday Moanin! Today we celebrate a wonderful Mother’s Day. Every one of us can reflect on how our mom’s have influenced us as people and leaders. When I think of my mom, I am filled with many examples of how she helped shaped my life and those of my five brothers. Luckily, she still influences all of us  to this day. Rose Hickey is a  92 year old dynamo. Her gifts are many and she still is the leader of our family. After my dad passed away in 1991, my mom modeled for all of us resiliency and strength.  It was not an easy time, yet she led us through our grief and though missing him, continued to enjoy and live a rewarding, full life. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #156 Welcome To May 2015, Time To #finishstrong

Wow we did it. We made it to the first Monday Moanin of May 2015. For many of us educators,  the month of May signals the school year will be ending soon. With that comes many invitations to focus more on management issues and end of the year activities than to focus on good teaching and learning. As a young teacher, my principal always reminded our staff  be well planned and intentional for the final weeks of school. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #155 Quotes To Guide Your Week

I wish all of you positive energy and hope on this April 2015 Monday Moanin. The content of today’s blog is posting five quotes/ideas that may guide you as you begin your week. Consider using them as a reminder or help provide you direction as you plan for a productive week. Here is hoping one of these will resonate with you:

“If you do things that are comfortable you’re not growing.” Samantha Bates Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #154 Does Your Team Work Like This One?

Welcome to another April 2015 Monday Moanin Thoughts.  During the last week,  I had the pleasure of meeting with several educators that are members of teams. There are many characteristics  that are at the heart of successful teams. In discussing these characteristics, Shelley Werthman, Academic Center Dean at Waterford Kettering High School agreed to share her perspective on what makes their team successful.  After reading her comments,  have a discussion reflect on what makes your team effective.  Shelley writes;

“This school year I have had the opportunity to be a member of a high performing team.  Our team was created in August with just one rule to follow – trust one another. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #153 As A Leader, Focus On These Things This Week

Welcome to this edition of Monday Moanin Thoughts. I am assuming that many of you are just returning from a much needed spring break. My mentor always encouraged me to consider this time of year differently. Instead of looking at spring as the time to wind down, look at it as setting the stage for  the next school  year. Too often, many people that make up a school community, students, staff, administrators, and parents may want to just get the year finished. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #152 Will There Be Anyone Left To Teach Students

Welcome to the first  Monday Moanin in April 2015. Recently I read an impactful blog from Dr. Steve Matthews, Superintendent of Novi Community Schools in suburban Detroit. If you need to understand why education is Michigan is in a crisis, Dr Matthews helps clarify some of the factors leading to this major issue in Michigan.  Let me know your thoughts after you read his post:

So you want to kill a profession. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #151 What Is Your Spring Message 2015?

Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. Here in Michigan,  most school districts will be enjoying their last week with students before a well earned spring break. Spring break represents lots of things for all of us. They may include warmer weather, blooming plants, renewal and the possibilty for transformation. It is a perfect time to refer to these ideas and others  as you lead your staff into the final weeks of the 2014-15 school year. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #150, The Power Of Sharing Through Twitter

Welcome to the first Spring 2015 Monday Moanin Thoughts. This past Saturday I attended my 4th AdminCampMI hosted by the Why I…Leadership Cohort., led by Paul DeAngelis Deputy Superintendent of Birmingham Public Schools in suburban Detroit. It is  incredible to be a part of 75 educators giving up their Saturday morning to learn and grow with others. The key  thought in all of the EdCamps across the country  is grow with not from others.  This true spirit of growing with was evident this past Saturday. Read more

Monday Moanin Thoughts #149 How Are You Going To Lead This Week?

Happy Monday Moanin to all of you. I can assure those of you still in the deep freeze that spring is coming soon. This week I kept reflecting about how difficult and challenging it is to be a leader in public education. Some of my thoughts included that leading is overwhelming, thankless, top down, less control, everything’s urgent, and poor staff morale. So, how do you deal with these and other challenges and  still keep your organization effective and growing ? This week, how are you going to lead? Consider these three areas as your focus.

  • Lead by taking care of the little things. Be well planned and organized for the week. John Maxwell writes; ” Don’t try to conquer the world until you’ve taken care of things in your own backyard.” 
  • Spend this week leading from your strengths. Reflect on what you do well and stay in that lane. Enhance your practice. Maxwell shares; ” Set your priorities and focus on your strengths today.”
  • Lead with the right attitude this week. Lead with your glass half full. Your staff doesn’t need to hear you blame others for the challenges everyone faces. Take responsibility for your attitude. Maxwell reminds; “Life is full of surprises, and the adjustment of our attitudes is a lifelong project. The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

Lead this week  by focusing on the little things, strengths and attitude. All doable and in your control. Have a great week and keep finding the good stuff.