be engaged

…and I don’t mean of the #alwaysabridesmaid variety.

I just signed up for iEngage Berwyn! This Saturday, I will be lucky enough to learn from and alongside my coworkers, friends, and mentors. Having not been able to attend iEngage in the past two years, I am thrilled to be able to go this year. What a privilege to work for a district where we are able to host speakers who encourage venturing outside of our comfort zones as teachers. I know that personally, I’m constantly seeking to improve myself as a teacher and do more for my kids, regardless of whether that incorporates technology or not. Part of being a top-notch educator requires looking for those ways in which we can better our relationships with our students and colleagues, with our families and communities, with our administration and with ourselves. Reflection, communication, feedback. All key components to being an effective teacher and leader.

One of my goals for next year is to choose ONE thing and be truly engaged with it. Become an expert. Be able to teach other teachers about it. Though I haven’t quite decided what that concept is going to be, I know that’s where my head is when it comes to improving myself for next year. As a very “Type-A” person, I want everything to be monumentally perfect, all the time.

Not. Possible.

Learning that has been a true journey, and one that hasn’t been easy, and one that is far from will never be over. Next year, I want to find that ONE passion I have. I want to focus on it. And I want to implement it with consistency and fidelity, seeing the outcome at the end of the year, whether it’s positive or negative (though I hardly think adding in different curriculum or management styles would be of detriment to my students; if anything, I think I would just see it as a growing edge for the following year, and would either tweak it to make it better, or swap it out for something else in its place).

Just for kicks, here’s the definition of “engaged”:

engaged (adj) – busy or occupied; involved; interlocked

Engagement isn’t just for our students. How engaged are we, as teachers? How can we better engage with what we’re teaching our students? How can we engage THEM better? Fully engaging in ONE new strategy, skill, unit, management technique, etc, will only serve to allow our students to fully participate in that as well.

I also like to think about engagement as passion. I mean, how often are you willing to listen to someone who just drones on and on about something they don’t really even care about? One of my favorite things about people — about ANY one person — is watching his or her face LIGHT UP when talking about a passion. It ignites a fire within me that just makes me feel so fortunate to even be talking to that person about something he or she feels so strongly about! If you’re not passionate about something, can you ever really engage with it?

This begs the question: what am I passionate about (I mean, only like 5.8 million things, when it comes to educating)? What do I want to fully engage in, fully commit to? With what do I want to interlock? With what do I want to be associated? What will I want people to think of when they hear my name?

“Oh, Mary Brown? Yeah, she’s the expert at ___________.”

I’ll let you know when I find the answer to that question.

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