Saturday, October 24, 2020

You're the Kind of Kid

This summer I read Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba. It did not disappoint. If I could require all parents to read it before giving birth to their children, I would. Of course, teachers of all grade levels should read it too.

There are many valuable and practical takeaways from this read, but one of the most powerful, yet easiest to implement, only requires our intentional and repetitive words.

Borba says, "What we say about our children helps define who they are and the type of people they believe themselves to be."

She offers the example, "You're the kind of person who likes to help."

Eavesdrop in my classroom and you'll hear, "You're the kind of kid who..." quite often.

You're the kind of kid who...

  • cares about our community
  • values kindness
  • values being ready
  • values being brave
  • values being safe
  • wants to do your best
  • wants to help others
  • etc.

How would you finish Borba's sentence?

It all depends on what you want the children in your care to believe about themselves. Feel free to borrow her phrase and repeatedly tell your students who they are. 

They're ready to be those people.

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Permission Slips

In my experience, being a one on the Enneagram means that I have an unwavering sense of right and wrong that permeates all facets of my orderly life. For example, my conscientious mindset does not allow me to drive 65 until the sign says I can, and you can bet I won't be pushing to go faster. Receiving permission is important to me. (Well, except for how I run my classroom, but that's complicated.)

But sometimes the most important permission I can receive is from myself.

Thanks to The Idaho Coaching Network, I've been ruminating on the idea of permission slips but not the kind that I remember from my days long ago at Meridian Junior High. This kind of permission slip is one that I write for myself – to myself. And I'm not sure there could ever be a better time to write one (or several) than now. 

As I struggle to process how last school year came to a close and how up in the air this new year is beginning, not to mention how the rest of the following nine months might turn out, I'm recognizing the need to intentionally give myself permission to feel some things, as well as plan for what I physically, mentally, and spiritually need in order to be at my best.

So I've literally written myself some permission slips. I'm keeping in mind that the road ahead is like driving Highway 55. It's a windy one. I don't know precisely what I'll need until I get around the next bend or two. But this list is a start.

I, Tammy McMorrow, give myself permission to...

  • be sad about the loss of what I know school should be.
  • take as much time as necessary to establish community and culture.
  • take it slow and not worry about what we don't get to.
  • make mistakes along the way.
  • make time for hobbies that bring me joy.
  • make my health a priority. 
Grab some paper and do yourself a favor. What would your permission slips say?

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