Skip to main content

We Find What We Are Looking For

I recently celebrated a milestone event: my 40th birthday. While I typically enjoy birthdays and celebrate each passing year, this one was different. The jokes about getting older, the joshing from my children, the page-turning age for health screenings all seemed to come together in a rush. It didn’t help that the I seemed to find blogs and articles everywhere about taking care of yourself in your 40’s. As I stared at my new-40 self in the mirror, I searched for the tell-tale signs of aging that were sure to appear soon. I looked for gray hairs. I found them. I looked for crinkly eyes. I found them. I looked for tired, dry skin. Found that too. As I stared at myself, shocked that these signs of aging had seemingly arrived overnight, I came to a startling conclusion: I found what I was looking for.

As I continued to take a hard look in the mirror, I realized that I was finding, no, forcing myself to find, what I was looking for and that skewed my entire impression of myself. I was looking through a lens of trepidation and negativity and so I found trepidation and negativity. Had I looked through a different lens, I may have found a face that smiled so much, beautiful crinkles appeared. I may have found hard-working skin that has kept me safe and healthy for 40 years. I may have even realized that those budding grey streaks were actual badges of honor, marking the years of a good life with my husband and children. It was a shocking conclusion to realize that I had complete control over what I saw in myself, and in life, and of course, I instantly made connections to teaching and learning.

We find what we are looking for. If we look for students to struggle, we will find students who struggle. If we look for behavior difficulties, we find those too. If we look for the negatives in our curriculum, we will find the negatives….and miss opportunities to change what we can. Yet, if we look for the good, we find the good. We will find lost minutes to add more reading to our schedule. We will find moments to connect with students and bring joy to the day. Now, that is not to say that just because we look for things, we will find them and all will be well with the world. Not at all. But it is to say that the lens through which we see our colleagues, students, families and communities matter and influence our actions as educators, whether we know it or not. So, today, I am going to make a conscious effort to look for good and let everything else go. To shift my mindset, control what I can and bring joy to the days ahead for myself and the teachers and students I have the privilege of working with. What will you find today?


  1. I love this! It's a conversation I've been having with myself so often that I even mentioned it in my Sunday School class this week. Confirmation bias-- the struggle is real. But, it really is about choice, framing, and perspective.

    Welcome to your forties. There's a lot to be said about the positive side of that decade! My kids are grown enough that I have a budding social life again. I don't step on legos all that often anymore. I can visit the restroom independently and uninterrupted. I feel like I have a better understanding of what's important than I did 15 years ago. I'm a much calmer person.

    There's a lot to be said for fortysomething!


    Belated Happy Birthday!

  2. Looking for the good is so much more fun too, isn't it?


Post a Comment

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…