Saturday, March 31, 2012

Choose to be Extraordinary

It's been a few weeks since my last post because it's been a few weeks since I've had time to decompress and think about all the busyness that's been going on at work.  As we head into the final week before Benchmark testing, you can tell that everyone is a little tense; everyone is just ready to slide into home plate after all the hard work that's been put in.  You can see it in the teachers and the students.  This time of year in general seems to breed a type of restless apathy.  We'd all rather be out in the sunshine or on vacation than in our classrooms and offices being productive.

I'm right there with everybody else.  I want to be out in the sunshine way more than I want to review main idea, author's purpose, and inferencing, but we all have to do things we don't necessarily want to do. This is something I've been having to tell my students a lot lately.

There's one particular quote that has stuck with me these past few weeks since I've posted.  It comes from a book that my principal lent me called Monday Morning Leadership. This book comes from the business world, but is filled with connections to education.  While there are many great lessons in this extremely short book (it's only about 100 pages), my favorite quote from the book is also one of the simplest.  It simply states:

If you want to be extraordinary, the first thing you have to do is quit being ordinary.

That sounds easy enough.  Choose to be extraordinary.  However, when you really make a mental effort to choose non-ordinary behavior everyday, it is pretty darn hard.  Ordinary behavior might mean handing out an assignment and letting kids work independently so you can save your voice.  It might be using  a PowerPoint and taking notes, when you could do a more hands-on activity.  The thing is, being extraordinary means taking a lot of risks, and taking a lot of risks mean running the chance of making more than one mistake.  When you quit being ordinary, you choose to forfeit the comfort that goes with following the crowd.

As we prepare for Benchmark week, I want to rise to the occasion, just like I'm asking my students to rise to the occasion on their testing.  If they have to work hard, then I should have to work hard, too.  So children, I hope you are all ready for some extraordinary lesson plans next week!  I am choosing not to be ordinary.

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