Innovation begins and ends with empathy.

Innovation begins and ends with empathy.  -George Couros

Why do we innovate?  Do we innovate just to do something differently?  Is different always better?

Do we innovate to use technology?  Does innovation require technology as a component?

Do we innovate to cure boredom?  Kids today can’t learn “the old way” so we do something new?

I would contend that we innovate to make life better.  We make changes, we live our growth mindset, because we see opportunities for improvement.  We innovate with the understanding of how it makes others feels . . . we innovate to improve the lives of those we serve.

We need to make the positive so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.

We need to make the positive so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.  – George Couros

Society today requires public educators to have a positive growth mindset.  We have an increasingly challenging role in our communities, but we embrace the challenge with the belief we are making a positive difference.  We are changing lives . . . we are shaping the future.

It is imperative that we tell our story, that we share our narrative.  We can’t continue to permit negative forces to create the narrative of public education.  We control our message, our brand, and our communications.  Be intentional and embrace the Power of the Team to proudly share the good news.

Celebrating the positive doesn’t mean we ignore areas for improvement; living a growth mindset also means constant reflection and improvement.  We listen to concerns and we analyze our performance.  We live our value to Pursue Excellence; we embrace the productive discomfort of change.  We share the positives, reflect on areas of improvement, and commit to our purpose as we prepare every student to be Ready for Tomorrow.

A teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.

A teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.  – Henry Adams

As Teacher Appreciation Week draws to a conclusion, I would be remiss to pass on the opportunity to celebrate the effect of our amazing, talented teachers.

Think for a moment about your favorite, most influential teachers.  Reflect on the way these professionals motivated you to be more, on the way these teachers fueled your passion to be the best version of you.

Teachers push us to our edge . . . then show us we can achieve more.  Teachers inspire us to dream . . . then provide the skills to make each dream a reality.  Teachers build our confidence and model a growth mindset.  Teacher demonstrate that failure isn’t the end, but merely an opportunity to learn and grow.

Take time today to thank a teacher.  Google that individual who made a difference and surprise them with an email.  We live in a digital era, but computers will never replace the talented, dedicated teachers that create the future . . . one student at a time.

Life’s too short to be miserable.  We must appreciate every minute.

 

 

Life’s too short to be miserable.  We must appreciate every minute.  – Terry Bradshaw

 

Each of us has areas in our life that we’d like to make positive changes.  For me, there are times that I let one person, or one event, get under my skin and ruin my mood.  An aggravating unsolicited email or a hostile social media post can make me miserable.  The cost of my unproductive, undisciplined behavior can be significant.  Life is too short . . . Appreciate every minute.

 

Through a “big picture” lens, many uncontrollable events require a response.  For me, the most unproductive response, especially to something I can’t control, is to become miserable.  It’s a mindset . . . it’s about embracing my own shortcomings and actively doing the work to improve.

 

What makes you miserable?  Life’s too short . . . make the required changes to better appreciate the moments and people in your life.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.  – Aristotle

 

We are drowning in this new Information Age.  We are bombarded with thoughts and opinions – many of which we don’t seek out.  Everyone is sharing his or her opinion on everything.  From Facebook to CNN, from pop-up ads to iPhone notifications, we get new information every hour of every day as long as we are awake.  We are over connected at nearly every level.

While the volume of thoughts have increased, Aristotle’s approach is still as true in life today as it was in Ancient Greece.  We must listen, filter, and reflect on thoughts without necessarily accepting it.  Now, more than ever, we must evaluate the source of information.  We must be critical of intent and purpose.  We must use our own education and experiences to make decisions on what we believe.  We are our own best filters; we build trust based on our experiences.  Don’t accept someone else’s thoughts without first thoughtfully considering if they are worthy of your acceptance.

It is not hard to learn more.  What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.

It is not hard to learn more.  What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.  – Martin Fischer

 

In today’s era of instant access to nearly infinite information, learning more is at our fingertips.  From a YouTube video on how to program your garage door opener to earning an advanced degree online, it isn’t difficult to be a lifelong learner.  Each of us, from the youngest child to the senior citizens in their golden years, can access skills and continue our learning journey.

 

What’s more difficult for all of us is to accept change – and to permit ourselves to be changed.  It’s hard to unlearn certain skills . . . it’s uncomfortable when our values are challenged.

 

In my opinion, here is the biggest challenge . . . the willingness to challenge your own beliefs and then honestly decided what you aren’t willing to change and what changes are required of you.  We can’t simply unlearn skills or abandon time-tested truths, but we also can’t turn a blind-eye to advancement.  We must be honest, embrace the discomfort of questioning ourselves, and make intentional, purposeful decisions based on new information.

Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.

 

Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.  – Edward Everett

 

Education is the great equalizer in American society.  Education is what molds, what builds the foundation, for our next generation of American leaders.  Public education is the silver bullet, the single most powerful institution, to break the cycle of poverty and level the playing field in our country.

 

Our public schools, and the skills and values we instill in our young people, are protecting the very ideals of liberty in this next generation.  From the very truths that are made self-evident by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence to the new nation brought forth on this continent as referenced by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, the work of public school teachers safeguards the core of our liberty.