Saturday, October 12, 2013

Let's Celebrate

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres is starting a weekly celebration on her blog. On Saturdays she invites you to share something, or things, from your week that you could celebrate. I love this idea. I love that I will be looking my entire week for the positive. The positive moments, celebrations, events, etc. This has been my focus this year, to dwell on the positive and not the negative. So thanks, Ruth, for making this a weekly event.

I know I have am embarrassment of riches that I could pick from – but I am going to just choose one item to celebrate. My time is short – two young children are anxiously awaiting some pancakes to be made.

Yesterday I had the chance to present to a group of teachers in my district. Public speaking is tough for me. Anytime I have any rush of emotions whatsoever, I always get a red face. I’m not necessarily embarrassed, just excited, but it is still tough. My voice used to quaver and my heart would race. I was please to find that I didn’t have that reaction this time, just excitement. (And a red face, but we’ll go with that.)

I spoke about the different ways I use technology in the classroom. The reason I want to celebrate this is not that what I do is earth shattering – or even that I made it through a presentation without having a panic attack. What I want to celebrate is two separate events.

First, I have to celebrate the audience. If you’ve spoken to a group before you know that you get feedback from them without a word even being said. Their body language, eyes, faces, and more say so much. Teachers are notorious for being a hard group to speak to. Yesterdays group was wonderful. Smiles, laughs, eye contact, and more – I can’t say how much I appreciated it. I’ve always said it is harder for me to present in my own district than to strangers, but that group I had yesterday rocked. If any of them are reading – thanks so much! You made me day start off on the right foot – and my weekend too.

Second, as I spoke about what I have been doing with my students this year I came to an important realization – we’ve done a lot. I think the nature of teaching is that we never feel caught up, never feel like we've done enough. I always feel like I have failed – that I haven’t had enough explicit lessons on comprehension. I haven’t conferenced enough. I haven’t had enough time for them to write. I haven’t had enough time for them to read. Standing in front of a group and sharing my class, I had to pause. Holy crap. We’ve gotten Twitter off and running, ditto to Kidblog and a Classroom blog. We’ve had a whole unit on monitoring comprehension through think alouds. We’ve had five writing mini-units. The list goes on.

Yesterday was a great reminder to me that I look for the positive in life, in my students, in everyone else. However, I don’t tend to look for the positive in myself. I am my own worst critic. So I think part of my celebrations need to be recognizing that sometimes, I’m a bit hard on myself and I need to let that go.

If you’d like to see the slides I made for my district presentation you can find them HERE.

Thanks, Ruth, for starting this great new weekend writing idea. Have a great weekend everyone! 


  1. Betsy Michele HubbardOctober 12, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Yep, we are all a little too hard on ourselves and think too much about what we DIDN'T do and less on what we have accomplished. I will check out your slide, it sounds like the presentation was a great experience for all!

  2. So great to hear all this, Katherine. When you talk about what you've already accomplished, it's the feeling everyone gets when we do portfolios for conferences. It's such a good feeling to look back to see what has already happened! congrats on the presentation!

  3. Katherine,
    Stopping my your blog always makes me smile. Our first six weeks were a little different this year --- full of much more testing and assessment. I was determined to not let it get in the way of what we do in the first weeks, to not let it stress the children, to try to make it make as much sense as possible. When I look back I think, exactly what you said, we've done a lot! Our lists are always full of to-dos. Nice to be reminded to pause and think: look at what we've done.


  4. I am constantly amazed at what all you do. One of these days, I still want to connect because I know there is so much to learn from you beyond reading your words.

  5. I just noticed the title of your blog. My new blog title is really close:

  6. I hope you continue to celebrate the things you do. You are SO right, it is our nature as educators to be on the continual hunt for "the next thing" -- it's what makes this journey one of growth and learning. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword and sometimes makes it feel like we aren't enough. You, my friend, are more than enough.

    And kudos to presenting in your district. You are right -- it is much harder to present among your own colleagues than to go outside of the district. I'm glad you had such a supportive and encouraging audience.


  7. Great celebrations! I actually presented this week too and I know just what you mean about the feedback. Well done.

  8. I agree that it is sometimes much more difficult to present to people you know than to strangers. I am glad for you that this audience was so receptive. I was nodding along with you about the way we all are so hard on ourselves about how much still needs to be done. A few years ago I realized that I needed to see the positives and made an effort to stop and take inventory of the things I had accomplished every once in a while. This makes it easier to stay positive in a profession that is easily overwhelming.

  9. I like your point to remember all that we've done and to look for the positive in life, our students, and others, but to also notice the positives in our own lives. Thanks for sharing the slides with us.

  10. Yay you!! I couldn't agree more about your own district being the most difficult place to present, but how wonderful your audience was receptive.
    Have a great week!