Saturday, March 17, 2018


What does competition do?
It brings out your best.
It puts you against the best.
It tests your limits.
It makes you prepare.
It makes you practice.
It shows you your strengths.
It magnifies your weakness.
It can build you up.
It can tear you down.
But it never defines you.
It refines you!

Every competition has a winner and a loser. But, that is a matter of perspective. In Latin competition is defined as to strive for or to make great efforts. As John Maxwell likes to say sometimes you win...sometimes you learn. You never lose as long as you learn from the process. This past week has been crazy in terms of competition. Our Academy EDU students competed at the Ohio State Ed Rising conference and they did fabulous. They wanted 1st so they could earn a trip to Nationals. As a group we had no 1st place finishes. We weren't the best but we were at our best. We competed in more competitions than years past and we had more top 10 finishes than ever before. PROUD is an understatement. I had tears in my eyes as I watched my students...... collect their up before each award announcement and literally hug each other.
Encouraging each other. Those are the moments that make you proud. The effort. The sweat. No trophy needed when your actions speak loud. EDU students....Thank You!! You are amazing. Then I had a session to present in which I lost my voice that morning. My students showed up and helped out. Their support amazing. At the end of the day some were upset. Some shed tears. Others offered support. It was a great competition. We leaned together. We grew as a team. We made it about others and not ourselves.

Enjoy the slideshow from Friday:

Happy to Help!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Education is WORK

Yes....Educators get a bad wrap in terms of misconceptions of work within the industry field.  Tell someone your a teacher and you either get an eye roll or a your a saint and I don't know how you do it. But my focus for this is not our career choice. I believe that true education lies in student work. What are they experiencing? How are they contributing to the community through your class? If we simply give them content related tasks with never making a real world connection then what good is it? Students need to know the WHY behind everything they are doing.   Work is defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. Are students working with purpose?

Lets play a game. Make a list of SCHOOL work versus MEANINGFULL work.

Here are my lists and you tell me what's best:

Busy work
Home work
Content WORK
WORK for grades
Overuse of technology work
WORK that makes no sense
Cutting corners work

Meaningful WORK
Service WORK
Relational WORK
Voice and choice WORK
Solution driven WORK
Relevant WORK
WORK that just matters.
WORK through failure.
Life-skills WORK
Love your WORK

Dare I  say list one is the easiest way to work in school!

I love what Seth Godin says about meaningful work....

Better doesn't mean more. Better means generous, sustainable, worthy. Better means connection and quality and opportunity, too. But most of all, you can realize that the most urgent work is the work of dancing with our fear, because the fear is the real reason the work isn't getting done.

Right now in this moment I'm at swim meet watching my daughter do work. She smiles when she feels accomplished she cries when she misses the mark.  This is what meaningful work does it stirs up emotions. But in this moment there is a kid in last place.  His form is sloppy. His stroke is terrible. He can't keep up and the struggle is real.  The crowd roars to life has he is the last swimmer swimming. A whole lap behind his counter parts. The crowd continues to scream.  His coach walks beside him on deck...

Stroke...strole...stroke....10 more to go....

From behind the block a tennis ball on a pole hangs over the water. It touches his head a split second before he contacts the wall! The crowd goes crazy. Tears fill their eyes as they cheer. He emerges as the slowest swimmer but yet more victorious than all the others. He's blind with both a club foot and hand. A feed tube protrudes from his stomach. He understands work. He may never win his heat but his work always wins the heart.

As educators my hope is we start doing BETTER WORK....MEANINGFUL WORK!  Ask yourself this, is the work I'm doing in my class, in my building, in our district, with my students, and in our practice MEANINGFUL?

Final thought adapted from Craig Groeschel. Let's teach students (and ourselves) 3 easy concepts about MEANINGFUL WORK:

The work is the reward.
The prize is in the process.
We find gratefulness in the GRIND.

Stay #BENT

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