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THE SQUAD HAS RE-ASSEMBLED

It was my first day back at work after the holidays, and although getting up BEFORE six felt really weird, it was good to be back at school.  It was not only good to see my sweet students again, but it was great to be back with my co-workers.  It is good when the Squad is together.  I've worked at four different schools as a full-time teacher, student taught at four others, and subbed at about 12 others.  I've seen a lot of different school staffs.  When I was subbing, they often gave me long-term assignments - which is where you really get a sense of the vibe.

Our staff is united around one goal:  make sure our students leave empowered to be successful in the future.  We don't spend our time talking about how things used to be, or what kids used to already know before they came to school; we are all about taking our students as they are and supporting them to move forward.  I love that approach.  It is solution-oriented.  Let's not talk about the things we can't change, but focus on what is in front of us.  And what is in front of us our some talented, unique, and intelligent children.  They deserve the best we can offer and so we focus on that.

It might seem like a small thing to an outsider, or even just word play.  In truth it is a total mindset.  Being focused on solutions shifts your thinking from passive acceptance to proactive movement.  I'm not going to spend my days breaking down the minutia of a problem, but rather come up with a way to resolve it.  It is determination on steroids.

I love the way Arthur Ashe put it, "Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can."  Don't complain about lack of funding or commuity support, instead, look for ways to support your students right where you are.  Don't spend your time trying to sway the naysayers, but rather those who are supportive.

I try to apply the same concept to my own life and thinking.  If you are like me, and I know I am, I tend to focus on ONE negative outcome or comment.  It can gnaw at me, and I can let it define me.  In my OLD, DECREPIT AGE I am learning to accept things at face value (not read into small gestures, or eye movements) and to focus on the things I can do - working hard to do my best in the classroom, and at home.  

I can chose to have a postive outlook on the world around me - something I SORELY need in these days, and expect good from those around me.  If I get cut off in traffic, it isn't because someone is "out to get me" but another human just like me who just made a mistake.  

I suppose the larger outcome of having a kinder and more generous attitude toward my own faults, is that I am learning to be more generous and patient with those around me.  

We are all in this together, so let's do what we can and support each other.  Go Squad, Go!

--Jen 

Below is a FANTASTIC video about spreading kindness!  I love it and if you want to learn more about the story of how it came to be  go to www.tedtalks.com and look up the creator:  Orly Wahba