If you are a teacher who engages in Twitter (#edutwitter) than you know that the beginning of January is the season for declaring your one word. Teachers reflect and determine what one word will define their work in the coming year and then put it out there on Twitter using the hashtag #OneWord2019. I find great value in finding your one word, or as I sometimes call it a teaching intention. But this week I saw a teacher on Twitter post something that I had never before encountered in my 15 years of teaching - a PERSONAL mission statement. Brilliant! I had to have one! And also had the feeling of of course, why didn't I think of that? What a great way to remind yourself what you are all about, to share with your students and their parents, and your colleagues.
Like so many of you, I have been inundated with mission statements throughout my career. School mission statements. District mission statements. And every time school leadership changes there seems to be the need for a new mission statement. And while I usually agree with the statements, they aren't overly important to me because they aren't well, personal. Just like a kid doesn't own content until they have voice and choice, a mission statement doesn't usually mean a lot to people until they've made it their own.
So I am setting out to create my own mission statement, one that will guide me in my work, reminding me of what is truly important and what's not. And it's scary - like laying your teacher soul bare.
Here Goes Nothing
My first draft:
I will strive every single day in my classroom to help students live their best lives by helping them to learn about our nation's history and by helping them to learn how to read, write, discuss, think critically, collaborate with their peers, and be productive, kind citizens. I will strive every day to advocate for my students but most importantly, I will guide them to be their own advocates so that they can not only learn about history but alter its course for themselves, our community, the nation and the world. I will strive to be a kind colleague and positive leader; and when I fall short of my goals, I will start the next day with hope of meeting my goals.
I know. It's way way way too long. Time to par it down.
I will help my students be their best selves by teaching them to be better readers, writers, historians, citizens, critical thinkers, collaborators and human beings. I will advocate for them and teach them to advocate for themselves so they are empowered to change their lives, our community, and our world. I promise to believe in our endless possibilities together as teachers and learners.
I like it. Today anyway. And because it's mine I change it whenever I want because unlike most mission statements it doesn't require a committee. Yasssssss!
Next, how will I use it?
I plan on tweeting mine -- I was gifted this idea with #edutwitter and maybe my mission statement will encourage someone else to the same. I'll also share it with my students and colleagues in the form on an anchor chart. I might even have students make their own mission statements. What a personalized, goal orientated writing assignment. But lastly, and perhaps most important, I will use it to guide my work. Does a lesson fit with my mission statement? What about a PD session? What about a committee assignment? If it doesn't, how can I use my mission statement to tweak what I am doing? We all know that teaching is a balance - so much to do and so little time. So perhaps this statement will empower me to make decisions, to double down on some ideas and let others go. That's my hope.
I encourage each of you to set a little time aside and create your own mission statement. And please share them with our BubbleUp Classroom community. We'd love to hear from you.
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