Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Slice of Life - I Want My Why Back

         I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a                                                                            story, reflection, or musing.

Image result for i want my hat back

     "What you do proves what you believe." - Simon Sinek

     While pantsuit-clad voters went to the poles today, our district held an inservice.  Our superintendent's keynote started the day.  While talking about our district's future, he featured Simon Sinek's golden circle and a clip of this video:

     Interestingly, this "why" idea has come up a few times in the last month or so.  It came up in a sermon about making a mission statement for your life.  It came up last week when I read Margaret Simon's "Focus" post on Digilit Sunday.  Margaret defines her mission as "I want to empower others to be the best they can be.  I want to bring creativity into the world."  That's her WHY.  That drives what she does and how she does it.  I know Margaret, and you see her WHY in everything she does.

     By now, you're wondering why Jon Klassen's book, I Want My Hat Back, is at the top of this post.  When I was talking to Libby, my daughter, tonight on the phone, I was telling her about the golden circle and "inside out" idea.  She works at Nationwide in marketing, and she knew this concept of starting with the WHY in her business.  As we talked about it, I explained I had been feeling a little "off" lately, spiritually and professionally.  (This is partly why I haven't blogged in a long time."  I laughed a bit about how I've lost my WHY.  Because I had introduced Klassen's billiant books to her in the past, she responded, "It's like that book I Want My Hat Back - you want your WHY back!"  YES!  Yes, I do.

     I know why this happens - losing my WHY.  I get busy.  I get distracted.  I get bogged down in the HOWs and WHATs - starting with products and processes instead of the WHYs.  There are lots of reasons for this...state tests, data obsession, published literacy programs, other pressures.  These can crowd out the WHY and only concentrate on the WHAT.  A colleague asked me today, after another colleague and I shared Kidblog and the Slices of Life our students write, "Why are you doing that (having kids blog)?"  I have to admit I was flustered for a minute.  I didn't expect that question.  However, it's a fair one.  After a brief pause, I answered with a couple reasons, but I know there are a lot more - I just wasn't ready.  Another colleague who is going to try blogging with her kids, sent this graphic later:


     Believe me, I know this.  But I need to keep the WHY in mind all the time. I need to be able to respond quickly and confidently about why I do what I do in the classroom - and life, for that matter.  Sinek says, at the end of the TED Talk, "It's those who start with WHY who inspire others or find others who inspire."  I've found those people - people who have inspired me in education.  In Donalyn Miller, Franki Sibberson, Penny Kittle, Megan Ginther, Lester Laminack, Ralph Fletcher, Kelly Gallagher, Katie Wood Ray, Chris Lehman, and more.  I know what it feels like to understand, without a doubt, why I do the things I do. I know what it's like to do the right thing for kids.  To teach ELA the right way.  I need to get back to that place.  I'm not far from it - I just forgot the WHY for a bit.  

     I want my WHY back.  And I'll find it.