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Embrace It One Word for 2018. This process has helped me focus on my goals in the past and I look forward to the journey of my One Word again. This might be the easiest One Word I have ever chosen. It came to me after thoughtful prayer and consideration. I wanted a word that would move me into action. Something I could carry with me that would inspire my journey, but also lift me up when I enter the valleys that inevitably come.

Embrace means to accept or support willingly and enthusiastically. This is easy to do when it involves the happy things in our lives like promotions, accomplishments, family, but can be much more difficult when we travel through the valleys in our life. When this word first entered my heart I thought for a moment about what it meant to me. I immediately thought of my oldest daughter, who is a senior in high school. I want to embrace every moment of this next semester with her because I know it will fly by. I want to create a balance in my work life that allows me to focus on quality time with her. My time with her is so precious now, each minute seems so valuable and so fleeting.

I want to fully embrace the new adventures that are right around the corner for me. There are so many learning opportunities I am excited about, and I want to make sure that I don't shy away from any of them. I am passionate about serving my students and fellow educators. I want to grow my resources and embrace new strategies and techniques that will help my students be successful.

I very publicly went through National Board Certification last year. Anyone who has been through this process knows the rigor. So when the results came back and I was faced with the reality that I had fallen short of my goal...I was devastated. The disappointment was overwhelming, but then I realized this was a failure I needed to embrace. We do not always realize our dreams on the first try. In fact we almost NEVER realize our dreams on the first try. I knew I had to stop focusing on the failure and start embracing the 're-do'. My three children had watched me work tirelessly for a year and half and they were as disappointed as I was. This was my moment to model perseverance and determination for them. I talked with them and explained that I was not giving up. I had a new plan that involved me re-doing a component in my certification. It was not an easy re-do and in fact would involve another year long journey. However, I wanted them to understand that anything that means a lot to you is worth working for. So in January I will register again to participate in the National Board Certification process. I will work hard and will embrace the new challenges that are placed in front of me, all the while knowing that I will be better in the end because of my dedication to grow as an educator.

What I understand to be true is this...Growth comes by embracing our limitations and striving to fill in the gaps of our own understanding. We work to learn new ways of helping our students. We work to build relationships that foster trust within our students. We work to provide the best education we can for our students. All of this comes only after we embrace our failures and recognize the areas where WE need to grow. This year has been a learning experiencing for sure. I have learned that students are resilient, curious, and strong willed. They want to learn, but for some that means they have to overcome the obstacles in front of them. Some of these obstacles are easy to move while others require patience, understanding, empathy, and education of the adults working with them. We are their lifeline, their future, their support, their advocate. We have to embrace all of these roles if we want to see a change.

I will embrace the fact that I do not have all the answers. My plan is I choose to educate myself first, then I will be ready and equipped to educate the children in my classroom. I am a woman of strong faith. I believe that God calls us for specific roles, duties, if you will. I also believe He never sends us without equipping us first. We have to be willing to embrace the calling, and then accept the education that equips us for the role.

I am thankful for my One Word. My journey is beginning and I look forward to embracing the valleys I will travel through. I know the valleys work together with the mountain tops to create a life that is filled with rich experiences. These experiences will form me into a strong, faith-filled, determined woman who can persevere with the best of them!

May your journey in 2018 be filled with moments that encourage you to embrace each experience as a learning opportunity!

Liz Savage


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