Sunday, August 30, 2020

Dear Educators, You Can!

Dear Educators,

I've been trying to write this for 3 weeks. As with most everything in 2020, plans changed. I should already have had 2 weeks of school under my belt by now, but my first day is this coming Thursday. My oldest daughter still has a week of summer vacation before starting high school. I should have spent the majority of this weekend at a soccer tournament. I don't think I have the right words, but I need to get this out. I know I can.

This reality has a new feeling ... I hesitate to call this "normal" ... I don't want this to BE normal. This reality has new and different challenges. I've shed tears and I know more will come. I've been angry and felt defeated. COVID-19 has rocked me. What started out as a 3 week pause, turned into a full remote learning for the entire fourth quarter. Then summer was extended as guidelines changed and precautions were outlined and new safety measures were developed.

With everything, I know I have a choice. I have a choice with my words and my actions. I may not like my choices, but they are there for me to make the best of. I'm not perfect and I won't always make the right choice. 

We say the same thing to our daughters here at home. My youngest two girls started school this past week. Face-to-face, five days a week. They have to have their temperatures taken before entering school. They wear masks. They mostly sit in their desks. Specials teachers come to their rooms. They sit on dots spaced out in the cafeteria. And when we explained the "rules" for school, they smiled and accepted them. They don't like wearing masks, but they wanted to go back to school. I cried when we dropped them off ... HAPPY tears! After 5 months, they were back in school.

I don't want this to be "normal" ... but I have accepted this is what we have to do right now. And I want to face this head on and do the best I can. 

I listened to one of my favorite podcasts this morning on my post-run cool down. The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros. It was 10 minutes long and he talked about giving grace to others and yourself. He said it well when he said it's easy to give others grace but often, it's tough to give it to ourselves. That is so very true! Give your students grace; give their parents grace; give your colleagues grace; give your administrators grace; and give YOURSELF grace. You can.

As this school year starts, I don't know truly what to expect. I hope I meet the challenges head on. I hope I ask for and seek help when I need it. I hope that my daughters have a good year. I hope that we all stay healthy. I hope we use this forced change to improve everything we do. I hope that we will look back on this school year and say, with confidence, we did it!

Stay connected ... I'd love to hear your comments below. Tweet at me ... @kiefersj. Need some help? Feel free to email me ... .


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Making the Most of August You Can Do

August always brings mixed emotions for me. August signals the beginning of the end of summer ... school supply shopping ... heavy prep work for the coming school year ... rush to finish projects around the house ... squeeze in family time ... ramping up of fall sports ... soaking up every bit of sunshine possible ... all good, yet a little sad - I love summer!

August 2020 is in many ways the same, yet COMPLETELY different! If I'm being honest, the past 4 1/2 months have been both wonderful (extra family time, enforced slow down of running around, extra learning time) and stressful (the unknowns, the fears, the crazy, the emotional roller coaster). It's also been physically taxing on me (I fell on a run & required shoulder surgery - I'm 6.5 weeks post-surgery, healing nicely, but this is going to take time). But I'm not here to complain!

Thanks to the wonderful people around me, I've been able to accomplish a great many things this summer and I still have some items to check off my "to do" list. I'm excited!

Back in April, I kicked it off with presenting at the April meeting for GEG Ohio. I shared how you can create an "app" using Google Slides. There is a lot of goodness in this meeting - I appear around the 1 hour mark.

From there, a huge thanks goes out to Dr. Desiree Alexander, my #NYC19 Innovator Coach. She allowed me to share 11 - yes ELEVEN - webinars with a great many educators. And ... we have a few more planned! Yay! Not only does she do these live, but she records them and shares them out on her YouTube channel (Educator Alexander) so you can watch them afterwards. All the resources are tucked in the show notes, so be sure to click the "show more" so you can learn right along with the recording.

Pre-injury, I installed new floors throughout our 1st and 2nd floors. We also did a fair amount of painting. Unfortunately, our new stair treads were backordered and didn't come in until after my surgery. My dad is super handy and came over a couple of times and helped complete most of the projects! My mom got to enjoy some fun with my girls, too.

I also was able to participate in a handful of conferences that moved their entire conference online and offered it freely to everyone! There was EdChange Global, WeVideo Creator Community, and Beyond the Bootcamp with Jeff Bradbury. You can find them all on my YouTube Channel on the "My Presentations" playlist.

And I have a few more things still coming up! This week will kick off Monday with the G-Tech Summit hosted by the Genoa Area Local Schools in Ohio. I'll be presenting on both Monday & Tuesday. I encourage you to join in the learning fun - there will be tons!

I'm also excited to keep learning about Data Studio, Blended Learning, Google's new Certified Coach curriculum, and I've always got a stack of books to read. 

Guess I better get moving and tackle some of the items on my "Today's To Do" list. How about you? What's on your list?

Have a question or comment? Please leave it below. Or Tweet at me - @kiefersj - I'd love to connect. Would you like some help with something - feel free to email me .