Skip to main content

The Power of Celebration


Have you ever just had one of those days? You know, the kind of day where things just never seem to go right the dominoes just keep falling? I hear you. Recently, I had one of those days. I was preparing for a day of tutoring in our after-school reading club with my graduate students and everything that could go wrong, did. The double parking, the change of seminar rooms, the absence of students, the broken chair, the students running out of the room, the technical difficulties of the projector and on and on and on. As we came together for seminar, we filed in the room looking exhausted. Or, at least I did.

As we started class, I knew I had to turn the climate around. I handed each student a small sticky note and asked them to write a celebration from the night onto it. This celebration could have been anything: a celebration of themselves, their teaching or their interactions with their student. A celebration of their student’s engagement, behavior or literacy skills. A celebration of anything that night. I gave them a minute of reflection and then asked them to share. Actually, I begged them to share, jokingly saying that I NEEDED these celebrations. They obliged and one by one, shared the things that went well that night. For me, there was a tangible shift in my attitude and out-look. Even though we were literally on Plan G for the night, these small celebrations reminded me of why we do what we do: to celebrate teaching and learning. I felt better, had a renewed sense of energy and was thankful for those that shared their celebrations with me.

There is power in the celebration. Celebrating the good, even if we have to search to find it, helps shift our focus from one of deficits to one of positivity. It shifts our focus from what is going wrong, to what is going well and can reverse the domino effect that seems to happen all to often. By intervening in our own thinking, we can change the trajectory of what happens. The power of the celebration. So how can you make the power of the celebration work for you? Here are three ideas to try tomorrow:
  • Stop and celebrate. When things seem to be going wrong, stop. Take a deep breath and change your thinking. Even if more things went wrong than right, find those small glimmers of goodness and name them.
  • Celebrate students. Ah, this one is a game-changer. The students who demonstrate the most unloveable behaviors are often the ones who need us the most. Write the student’s name down on a sticky note and add words or phrases to describe the positive qualities you see. Focus on building those rather than giving attention to the others. This also works for colleagues. =)
  • Start a gratitude journal and have your students join in. To close the school day, have students share a celebration from the day. These can be compiled into a class chart, in a class book, on a shared document or even in individual gratitude journals to help cultivate a community of positive thinkers.  

While it can be hard, I do notice that a shift in mindset can make all the difference in the world. If you think it will go wrong, then it will. If you think you can find good in a situation, then you will. Cultivate the frame of mind that fuels your work and reminds you of why you joined this profession in the first place. Celebrate!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An Instructional Coaching Toolkit!

I have a thing for notebooks. And colorful markers. And sticky notes. I use them in all aspects of my literacy teaching and coaching. During coaching conversations, I often find myself providing on-the-spot demonstrations with these tools. I might engage teachers in a brief lesson on phonemic awareness and ask them to sort sounds. I might walk teachers through word building activities so they experience a new way of engaging students. I might introduce books to teachers to model how they might do the same for their students. I might even create game boards on sticky notes as visuals for teachers to support instructional planning. These demonstrations and notes act as instant and tangible tools to further teacher learning.
Over the years, I’ve compiled these artifacts to create coaching toolkits for the teachers I work with. My toolkit for ‘word work’ might include a picture of an anchor chart created with students, a list of words appropriate to the alphabetic feature students are wor…

Focus on Coaching Cycles

At this point in the school year, many of us are deep into our classroom coaching and engaging in coaching cycles with teachers. Just as coaching can look unique from building to building, our coaching cycles are often unique to our coaching context, our purpose for partnering and the goals and needs of each individual teacher: 1:1 coaching cycles, small group coaching cycles, student-centered coaching cycles and more. Each cycle typically has a pre-coaching conversation, classroom coaching/co-teaching/observation and then follow-up conversations as well.You can find theforms and templates I tend to use for classroom coaching here.
For me, my coaching cycles right now are in the context of my graduate education courses. Each week, I engage in a single coaching cycle with each of my students: lesson planning, observing lessons and coaching conversations. We repeat this for ten weeks of the course and the focus of our cycles shift and change over time. We also meet for small-group coac…

Leading By Learning

This summer, I vowed to be intentional in how I spent my time so that when the new school year arrived, I would feel refreshed and renewed. Admittedly, the summer seemed to fly by, but I did carve out time for my own professional learning. I read every day, I wrote in my notebook (almost) daily, tried my hand at gardening, spent time with my kids and just tried to get better at being me. Some days, I killed it. And other days, well….you know. So, as I head into another school year, I know that I need to be incredibly intentional in how I spend my time and ensure that I focus on my own learning as an educator. It is this learning that fuels my work: it lifts my reading spirits, fuels my writing heart and reminds me that leading the learning of others requires that I remain a continual learner myself.
It is this core belief that drives my teaching, coaching and leading this year. I am even more committed to my own professional learning to fuel my work and lead by example. I have purpose…