Look at Life with Gratitude

I bought this gem last summer from a favorite little shop in Durham, NC when we were home visiting. It is from Vintage Girl Designs if you want to support a lovely artist who mixes visual imagery, especially birds and flowers with inspiring, thought provoking quotes.

At the start of 2018, my family and I started a new routine that we have followed with mixed fidelity. Every time we thought of something we were thankful for, we wrote it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Tonight, as part of our New Year’s festivities, we will read them over the course of the night to remind us of how fortunate we are and to acknowledge it. I can take no credit for this idea. I stole it from somewhere and to be honest, I am not even sure where or I would properly cite it. But there is much research that we live more fulfilling and more satisfying lives when we include some sort of practice of gratitude – of taking stock of all the things that went well and we are thankful for on a regular basis.

One of my child’s teachers this year, includes it in her closing circle. Every day the students say one thing they are grateful for from the day. As I reflect on our work with all students, this seems to me a very gentle way to help kids to focus on and reflect on what went well. It seems this would help to build both positive beliefs about ones’ self and to build a culture in the class of thankfulness and positive reflection. If we want kids to take risks and to have a growth mindset, they need help and support to appreciate the parts of that risk-taking that worked and helped them to grow and learn and not focus on what might not have gone well. Creating greater opportunities to do this in my classes in the second half of the year is one of my goals for 2019.

2018 was a year with much to appreciate

In this attitude of gratitude, I will highlight a few things from my professional life of 2018 for which I am very grateful.

  • When I started this blog, I set myself a goal to complete at least one post per month. 2018 was the first year in which I succeed in that goal!!
  • I had lots of opportunities to practice Cognitive Coaching with wonderful colleagues over the course of the year and to incorporate it more fully into my day-to-day work with students and teachers. I also had the opportunity to complete the Part 2 training which means I am fully certified. It has been the most meaningful professional learning I have done in awhile and I feel so lucky to be able to work with a cohort of people who can support each other as we learn this together.
  • I had the opportunity to complete my first Principal Training Course. It was a great professional learning experience that challenged me in an area in which I have little experience.
  • I was able to build relationships with my students that supported them to succeed. I am especially grateful for the partnerships with their parents and other teachers that allowed this to be possible.
  • I so appreciate my colleagues at the International School of Prague where I have been fortunate to work these last 6 years. They have supported and challenged me for many years.
  • I am excited to have accepted a new position at the American International School of Johannesburg for next year which will enable me to continue to grow in a different way. I am sure I will have lots to say here as I transition into a new school and role in the coming year.
  • I appreciate that my daughters get to come with me to school everyday and am thankful for my colleagues, who have been their teachers all these years and helped to shape them into the learners they are today.
  • I am lucky to have a partner who shares my profession, supports me, and is interested in continuing the adventure in a new place.

There is so much more I could share, but these are the highlights. I hope that 2018 brought you much for which to be thankful and encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on those that have challenged you to grow and have supported you when needed. I have noted bigger things here, but it is often the little things day-to-day that have more impact. Don’t forget these too.

I hope 2019 brings you peace, laughter, and much for which to be grateful.

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