Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Envelope Activity

The best advice I received during my first-year teaching was from the Mentor of New Teachers, Myra Dietz.  She suggested for all of us to create a "Nice Stuff" file, as a collection of items of appreciation.  She stressed, "You may not realize it now, but being able to look back at this material will make a huge difference in your careers."

I followed her advice and continue to add to my "Nice Stuff" file as an Assistant Principal.  It contains thank you's from students, notes from parents, emails from colleagues, etc.  More than just a collection of sentimental tokens of appreciation, this file serves a much larger role.

On challenging days when I am struggling professionally or personally at school, I will flip open this file and take three to four minutes to read a few items.  This is an effect way to revive my enthusiasm or simply alter my mood.

During our mid-year Academy meeting this morning, I had our teachers participate in an Envelope Activity.  The following statements were posted on the SMARTboard:

¨I love to teach because ______________________.
¨My favorite aspect of teaching is ______________.
¨I am dedicated to education __________________.
¨The top memory from first semester was _________.
¨It doesn’t get any better than when ____________.
¨I chose this career __________________________.

Our teachers were provided five minutes to reflect and write by completing the sentences on a piece of notebook paper.  I asked every teacher to fold up the piece of paper and place it in an envelope, keeping the reflection to themselves.  Then, I shared the following: 

"The next time you were overwhelmed about the 101 tasks you have to complete; the next time you are stressed about the curriculum or assessments, the next time you are struggling to finish the day or week, open up this envelope and be reminded what is most important." 

I cannot guarentee that every teacher will use it or if it will even have a positive impact.  At least I provided an opportunity for our teachers to reflect on the positives of their profession.
Thanks for reading!

The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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