Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Light and the Dark

The metaphor of darkness and light has always been a powerful one for me.  The whole idea that darkness seems all encompassing.  Like it is suffocating.  Like you can't escape it or that it's weighing heavy.  But then, with even the tiniest spark or flame, darkness runs.  It clears the way.  It doesn't take a lot, it doesn't take huge effort.

I think about that and tie it in with our jobs as teachers.  There can be a lot of darkness in our profession.  Looming deadlines, overwhelming work loads and expectations, upset parents, disobedient kids, difficult co-workers, and so much more.  And sometimes that darkness feels overwhelming.  Sometimes it feels like it's suffocating us.

But in those moments when darkness surrounds us, we have to choose to be the light.  We have to choose to strike the match or be the spark that sends darkness away.  We have to find that hope we can cling to, those people who will surround us with their own flames.  Darkness will overtake us if we let it.....or we can choose to be the light, not only for ourselves but for someone else as well.

One important way I see us being the light is by what we share online.  A family member came up to me a few weeks ago to vent about "all you people in education".  She told me that "I can't stand when I see a teacher complaining about something on Facebook. They choose that career, they work with KIDS for goodness sake.  If I were to complain about something with my job, my boss would call me and write me up or fire me, but I see it from teachers all the time."

That really hit me.  Even this week I saw teachers from all over the country who were complaining about things from their job on Facebook.  "The kids were crazy today"...."I felt so disrespected at work"......"I hate all this paperwork I have to do as a teacher, why can't I just teach??".....and you know what? Those are REAL and VALID complaints! They are! But think of the message we're sending to the world at large when we get on social media and complain about a job where we impact lives.  What kind of message are we sending? How would you feel, as a parent, if you saw your child's caretakers complaining about all they have to do to take care of your child?

We have to think twice.  We have to make sure we're spreading the light, not the darkness.

Week at a Glance

Sunday - Grades due by Midnight
Monday - Becky Harrison and Delic Loyde will be on Campus to meet during conference times
Mixed Bag Fundraiser Kickoff - 7:45am Cafeteria - Teachers need to be present starting at 7:35am
Interventions Begin
Writing Walls Due - Reader's Response
CHAMPS Meeting for CHAMPS team at 3:45pm in TP Room
Tuesday - Doc Brown Event - 8:00am Cafeteria - Teachers need to be present starting at 7:35am
Reading Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
"How to Participate in a Twitter Chat" Training - 3:45pm (for any interested)
Doc Brown Parent Event - 6:30pm - Brosig Auditorium
#ECEchat - 8:30pm
Wednesday - Boenker off campus; Nesloney off campus in afternoon
Thursday - Boenker off campus in afternoon; Nesloney off campus all day
International Dot Day
Friday - Face painting (schedule coming)
Fire Drill

TP Time

We need all teachers coming better prepared for these meetings.  BEFORE the meeting you should have looked up the TEK, studied it, looked at it in the Lead4Ward Field Guides, and you should be bringing a lesson to the meeting.  The TEKS we'll be studying can be found HERE.

Monday - Kinder
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through September 23rd.


No Birthdays this week!

Homecoming Week

This week is Homecoming Week.  HERE is the link to the theme days.  Remember documents like this can always be found in the "Documents for All Staff 16-17" folder.

Upcoming FREE PD

Here are some upcoming FREE conference/PD opportunities!  Make sure to check them out.  If a group is interested in going and wants to car pool, a district vehicle can always be reserved.

As I find more I will pass them along.  I know that the 4 listed below, I have attended before (or am part of the planning/presenting team) and know they are top notch and worth your time!

EduPassions Online Conference 
Saturday, September 3 -

EdCamp Katy 
Saturday, October 8 -

EdCamp College Station
Saturday, October 15 -

TCCA - Aldine - Keynote is Angela Maiers
Saturday, October 22 -


#ECEchat stands for "Early Elementary Education Chat".  It is a chat designed for teachers in early grades.  It is lead by a couple of educators/leaders in North Texas.  It is an exceptional chat.  I am co-hosting it this Tuesday at 8:30pm.  If you're interested in participating I will be leading a "How Do I Participate in a Twitter Chat" training after school on Tuesday at 3:45pm in the Library. Participating in chats is a GREAT way to get FREE PD.

Kids Deserve It

Here is our weekly interview.  This past week was with the 2016 Newbery Award Winner Matt de la Pena. If you're still interested in a KDI t-shirt, they're back up for Sale.  We have adult sizes HERE an kid sizes HERE.


Great Book Chat with Donalyn Miller and Friends:

Awesome learning/writing opportunity using Emojis! Use what kids love!

Rockstar Educators

Gloria Wilkinson - Gloria is one of our 3rd grade teachers.  I have always loved and appreciated Gloria for her honesty and her dry sense of humor.  Gloria knows that I am continually pushing her outside of her comfort zone.  This week I was able to meet with Gloria for her T-TESS Goal Setting Meeting.  As we sat there and talked about goals and ideas for growth, I was blown away by how quickly Gloria was able to be reflective and notice areas.  But more than that Gloria took advice and even shared some awesome new ideas.  And then again this week Gloria did a KILLER book talk on the announcements.  Gloria is a teacher who has been in this business for a while, and to still be able to look around and see ways to grow and still push yourself to do new things, is very admirable.

Cindy Puentes - Cindy is one of our new instructional aides.  I have absolutely loved having Cindy on the team already.  She is a go-getter, a hard worker, and best of all she always has an exceptional attitude.  She doesn't complain when asked to help here or there or whatever is needed. She is the perfect example of understanding that all of our jobs mean that we step up wherever needed to do what needs to get done for these kids without complaining.  I also love the way Cindy interacts with our kids and can't wait to see how many more relationships she's going to build this year.

In Closing....

Every single day I have to make decisions.  One thing that is particular about my position is that I always have to be looking at the bigger picture.  About how decisions will affect all those on campus; our kids, our teachers, and our families.  And sometimes I can't explain to everyone all the factors that went into making decisions. 

Sometimes I don't make great decisions.  And I totally own up to those.  And sometimes I make decisions that some don't agree with.  But As a campus leader I have to make decisions that aren't always popular, that upset some, and that not everyone agrees with. In the end a good leader makes decisions that are in the best interest of the children AND the adults. As leaders we have to be growing everyone. It's not always comfortable. It's not always easy. But it is always what's right.

Please know that if you, or you hear any families, that have issues with decisions that are being made as a campus, please come talk with me.  It doesn't mean those decisions will change, but it always helps to hear what others are thinking.

On the same level, we always have to respond as respectful adults in stressful or disagreeable situations with co-workers and with families.  We can't let our emotions get the better of us (and I am so guilty of that sometimes!).

Together we make this school work.  Together we have to spread light, not darkness.


  1. Amen!! You hit the nail on the head. I try to make light of situations for others that aren't happy with the current situations. I'm glad you put this out there! You're in path to success for our team, our students and our community! Keep up the great work!

  2. Todd, thank you so much for all this valuable information you give us each week! It has become a highlight of my week as I read it Sunday night and prepare for the next week. I'm giving you a "Hats Off" for all the amazing hard work you do!