Dream Big...this has been a conversation that keeps popping up around me. First, it started with my daughter. She is about to begin her senior year in high school. I'm currently holding back tears as I see those words in black and white. It's true, my oldest daughter will graduate this year. We have had many conversations as a result of this milestone. She shared an observation she made, "Everyone keeps asking me what I'm going to do after high school." She went on to share some of the many questions she is asked.
Are you going to go to college?
What are you going to do?
What do you want to be?
She turned to me and said something so profound...
"You know what I want to be? I want to be a graphic designer, but I also want to be a writer, and I love photography, so why do I have to choose? You know what...from now on when people ask me what I want to be...I'm going to say...I want to be a lot! My dreams are big and I'm not going to make them small just so I can answer a question."
Wow! I sat there, staring at this wonderful young woman who had decided she was going to leave all her options open and pursue her passions. I was proud, amazed, and inspired!
Next, I received an email from my lead learner saying we were forming a "Dream Big" team for our school. This team was going to discuss everything that had to do with our school...the look of the school, the culture, the branding, etc...
What are my dreams for my classroom? For our school? For my students? Oh, my! It's funny how we get used to living within a parameter. We adjust and start living inside the imaginary lines we set for ourselves. When we think of our classroom or our students, we tend to think with the parameters in mind. So when someone says, I want you to think about your classroom, your students, and your school community and I want you to "Dream Big!" Guess what happens?
Silence! My mind froze. I literally couldn't think. The parameters were getting in the way! I had to stop and redefine my parameters before I could begin to Dream Big. I thought back to my earlier conversation with my daughter. Oh no! This is what we do to our kiddos! We tell them to dream big, but then we set up parameters. We stifle their dreaming when we tell them how their dreams should look and how they should be accomplished.
Our parameters come from a place of love. We think we're being helpful, and we are to some degree. We need to guide our students' learning and help them develop their interests and abilities, but we also need to provide space for creativity, self-expression, and dreaming. Think of the amazing artists, musicians, computer science, and writers who have stepped out of the parameters to dream big. Our world is better because of their contributions.
I want my students to feel they can accomplish anything through planning and hard work. My goal this year is to erase the parameters and see the creativity, self-expression, and dreams take off! No limits! I will guide their learning and help them create goals and strategies which will help them accomplish their dreams. Will they make mistakes? Absolutely! And I can't wait to see the learning that takes place when those mistakes are made. It will be magical!
I'm currently dreaming big. I dreaming of a vibrant school year full of innovative changes. I'm excited to collaborate with a team, who will work to ensure our school culture is positive, welcoming, and open to change. I'm reflecting on the changes I want to see in myself, my classroom, my school, and my community. I'm thinking of positive solutions I can contribute to help make those changes a reality.
What do I see for myself this school year?
How will I work to ensure a positive culture in my classroom, school, and community?
What will I do differently this year to increase student engagement and learning in my classroom?
How will I hold myself accountable for the learning I create in my classroom?
What will I do to foster my students' dreams?
What will I do to make sure I am always using best practices?
Dreams are crucial. They inspire hope and future stories. They make us feel alive! So this year I will continue to dream big...without any parameters getting in the way!
So I ask you, when you start to "Dream Big," what will it look like? How will it change your connections to your students, faculty, and community? Dream Big and see the amazing changes that will take place in your thinking!