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 present 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?