Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feed The Rabbits

I’ve been thinking a lot about a certain motto lately…

Feed the rabbits, starve the snails.

A friend shared it with me years ago. She said it was the motto her school district lived by. Feed those teachers that were wanting to learn more, do more, be more. If there were “snails” that didn’t want to change, you still offered them opportunities, but you made sure you truly fed those rabbits to keep them going.

I’ve thought about that phrase many times since. I do feel like we are in a profession that tries to feed everyone equally at times, no matter if they are a snail or a rabbit. That can be frustrating. I think, then, that’s when you look for what else can feed you.

I thought of that this past week. I was conferring with a group of higher ability students. We were talking about how they had pushed themselves this year, how they had found their own desire to learn. Listening to myself, I was reminded of the importance of learning.

I think I can be a rabbit at times and, when discouraged, I can resort to being a snail. I have found that I am, of course, happier, when I am pushing myself. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some things “feeding” me professionally at the moment:

  • Twitter. Whether it is just connecting with other educators, participating in Twitter chats, or sharing out what my students are doing, Twitter is a big part of my professional learning.

  • Voxer. I am part of a group on Voxer – an app that allows you to leave voice messages (and photos and texts.) It’s similar to a group text, but somehow I like it better. My group talks about what they are reading and learning about almost daily. They keep me motivated.
  • Reading. I tend to be a binge reader. I read a little each day, but when I have time off, I tend to take a few days to really read. I’m on my fifth day of break and have read three professional books, four middle grade novels, and seven picture books. I won’t read as much this weekend, so I’m frontloading my spring break reading.

  • Conferences. Yes, I’m on spring break and yes, I will be spending the last three days of it at a conference. I cannot wait. Michigan Reading Association’s annual conference is this weekend and I will be driving five hours each way to join friends in a weekend of learning, book sharing, and fun.

  • Podcasts. I love podcasts, but almost all of mine are around literacy or classroom practice. My current favorites are Let’s Get Busy, Techlandia, and The Bedley Brothers. I listen to them while I walk Rosie and always come home with new ideas.

  • Time. I also find that giving myself time to do what I want gives me more energy when I return to teaching. Education, reading, and writing could all be considered my hobbies, but I know I need downtime as well. For this reason I have carved out time this week to really relax. We didn’t go anywhere for our spring break this year, so I have organized closets, spent time with family, and stayed at home and done absolutely nothing at least once. It has been glorious.

How about you? What do you do to keep yourself motivated and growing professionally? Do you fine it harder to be motivated at certain times of the year? I know February is tough for me, but spring brings new energy. Take care of yourself and have a wonderful week.