Monday, August 31, 2015

365

Today is the last day.  

I have blogged, every single day, since September 1, 2014.  Today is Day 365.

The primary focus was intended to be my life as a Teacher of the Gifted (Not the Gifted Teacher), and I have attempted to stay at least loosely tied to education in each and every entry.   I've bonded with a Professional Learning Network (PLN) that extends far beyond Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have joined Twitter, participated in a Twitter Chat.  Last week, I co-moderated a Twitter Chat at the invitation of the moderators, who I now count as colleagues, even though we've never met face to face, or heard each others' voices.

What I have learned about myself has been amazing.  What I have learned about my profession is profound.  What I have discovered about the abilities of my students -- when I DAILY paused to reflect on my classes at the end of each day - resulted in what can only be described as the best year, ever.

I've been teaching at Donegal for 17 years.  I dreamed about teaching, starting at about age 4.   When I do career surveys with my Information Literacy students, the survey bot always recommends teaching high school or college in the top two.  I know I am doing what I was created to do, because I really do love every single minute with my learners.

But, the Best Year Ever?  Yes.

Spending every single day writing something positive about my job (I hate that word...)  daily adventures, has created a mindset -- (dare I say a GROWTH MINDSET?) that frames every single day in positivity. Had I journaled in a notebook each night, I would have been inclined to list frustrations, vent anger, and create a record of hostility and arduous days that should be forgotten, instead of immortalized.  Have there been days where I've been reduced to tears in frustration?  Absolutely.  Have I felt worthless?  You betcha.  Overwhelmed?  More times than I can count.

Fortunately for me, I didn't count them, so I don't know.

What I do know is that I am a happier person for having typed this journey.  As far as counting, as of this afternoon, 37,245 views have hit this blog.  I don't write for an audience, most of the time.  I write for myself.  The blog has started some interesting discussions, has connected me in conversations with family members that I barely knew a year ago, has encouraged at least four of my friends to start blogs of their own, and has served as a portfolio of achievements for the 2014-15 school year -- all bonuses that I hadn't considered in the beginning as well.

The folks at Te@chthought brought this challenge to social media, and continue to do great things in their encouragement of metacognition in the classroom.  Edutopia and Mind/shift are now regular reads of mine, all serving to motivate and inspire me.   Inspiration is key to success, right?

Charles Young did a 365 project that I view as phenomenal.   I don't know what the inspiration was behind his decision to create 365 paper structures in his city, yet it is evident to me that he did so with precision, care, and presumably, a lot of reflection.  (Check out the pictures, this is only a small representation of his total project!)

My husband has challenged people in his congregation to try something new.  (He took up knitting, just to prove he was a risk-taker, and asked others to do something equally whacky.)   

Perhaps it's a Heydt thing that causes me to ask you "What sense of  personal accomplishment is out there, waiting for you to discover? "

Because you're doing yourself, and potentially someone else, a huge disservice for not taking the plunge.  Take a stand, make a commitment, and do something for 30 days.  (And then add 11 months....).  I predict you'll be surprised by the results. 

For today is the last day of the first year of blogging. 

And tomorrow is the first day of year number two.