What’s your word today?

With the ‘taking action’ mindset I’m running with at the moment, I have been thinking about purpose a lot. I understand that action without purpose is meaningless so these thoughts have been at the forefront of my mind ~ what is my purpose as an educator and the purpose of the school in our community and context?

I was fortunate to spend time with Robyn Moore recently, a truly inspiring and beautiful Australian woman. She encourages people to choose an empowering word and BE that word (or series of words) for the day. In doing so, you make the act of being that word your purpose for the day by allowing it to shape your every action. Having purpose to your actions in a day will result in that day being not only more productive, but also more meaningful and fulfilling.

When I heard Robyn talk about this, she was opening a conference I had helped to organise for 130 educators from across my District. Listening to Robyn unpack these ideas, after a mad few weeks of organisation, helped to focus my thoughts around the purpose of the conference. One of the aims we had hoped to achieve was to provide the time and space for teachers from 9 schools across our District (which spans over 100,000 square kilometres) to connect with each other in person and build the network of support we need when teaching in such a challenging context. I realised that if my actions were to achieve this aim, I would need to be presentย in all of the interactions I would have with others during the next two days.

I think that when a lot is going on and your attention is stretched between a range of different things happening in a day, you are constantly thinking about the next thing you need to do to get through the day successfully. As a result, you end up never being fully present in the interactions you are having at that moment. I knew it would be easy to ask “so how has your Term been so far?” and only half listen to the answer, instead thinking about logistics like whether I had everything ready for the next presenter or whether lunch would be ready in time for the break. Instead, I tried to be present.

Today I have been thinking about what my word will be tomorrow when I wake up and enter the new week. I particularly like the idea of using this word to shape each of my interactions during the day – interactions with my colleagues, with my students and with their families.

I think my word tomorrow will be mindful.

We have a lot happening here, as is the case in all schools I’m sure. Tomorrow 100 teenagers from a visiting school will arrive for a week, more than doubling our student numbers.

So tomorrow I will be mindful – I will be mindful that these visiting students have travelled a long way (1,200km) and will likely be overwhelmed by their first experience in an small, remote community. Likewise, my students may be overwhelmed by such an influx of city students. I will answer questions and share my understandings but more importantly, I will support my students to share their knowledge. I will learn from our observations and the conversations we will have. I will interact with purpose and thought and I hope that by doing so, my actions will support and value everyone I interact with tomorrow. I will be mindful. That’s the aim.

What will your word be?

4 thoughts on “What’s your word today?

  1. Hi Jessica

    Great to see you blogging.
    My word for tomorrow is ‘listen’. I’m mentoring Year 6 students, inquiring into inequity for their PYP exhibition unit. I’ll be engaging them in conversation and listening to where their learning is at, so that I know what questions to ask to guide them if required. The focus is on them talking about their learning. I need to keep quiet and really listen.
    I’ll be meeting with a newish teacher who has ideas for some innovations.. A class twitter account, more collaboration between classes at her grade level… I need to listen, not take over, not tell her what to do, just listen…
    And I’m interacting with Indian children via Skype for the SOLE project. It’s the first session for this group, so I won’t prepare anything. I’ll try and put them at ease by asking questions about their likes and dislikes, their families, their school… And really listening to their answers, so that I can interact with each one personally in future sessions.
    Thanks for making me think! Have a great day being mindful ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Edna, thank you for your comment.
    ‘Listen’ is such an important word for educators. Keeping quiet can be very hard for some people to do particularly if they have the mindset that they are hold ALL the knowledge.
    I really love how you plan on listening to the answers the students in the SOLE project give “so that you can interact with each one personally in future sessions”. Exactly what’s needed to build relationships and respect between yourself and the students.
    Engaging students in talking about their learning is something I struggle with in my context. English language is limited to begin with (English is usually the 2nd or 3rd language for our students) so the meta-language around learning is close to non-existant. This is something I need to work on ~ thank you again for pushing my thinking and in turn, my actions.
    Cheers, Jess ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jessica – enjoyed your posts and brief twitter exchanges. I too, for 8 years, taught in remote and isolated communities but in Northern Canada. What an adventure: tremendous challenges, anecdotes to last a lifetime, and cultural learning that influences me still having left for the south back in 1999. Trust it is and will continue to be an awesome experience for you two.

  4. Hello Jess,
    I’m really interested to see what you post next! I love that you have taken the direction so far of looking at what we can do to improve ourselves as educators and to enjoy what we are doing.
    I think next week, in my rural school in Victoria, I will be mindful of my students needs and emotions. It’s fourth term, they are tired and are still settling in from the holidays. I will be mindful to cater for them and to adjust the classroom to the varying needs of the class. I will be flexible! Positive thoughts= positive actions! I love it!
    I have recently applied to teach in both remote NT and remote WA… hopefully hearing back from WA anyday. So I was on the hunt to connect with remote teachers and learn more about their experiences and I stumbled on your blog. I have written a post on my blog to connect remote educators who blog, I would love for you to come over and comment about the aims of your blog, your passion for teaching remote and your new found centred and positive approach to your personal development.
    I really look forward to reading more about your personal development and more about life in your remote community ๐Ÿ™‚

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