By Michele Corbat
Tomorrow I will begin my 22nd year as an educator. I am still as excited as I was the first year. I take that back. I am still as excited as I was on my first day of kindergarten! Tonight will surely be a night of sleeplessness. Tossing and turning. Thinking about all of the opportunities and challenges that will come my way. This year is different however. This year I am influenced by the writings of Jon Gordon and Dave Burgess. These edunators (thanks for this brilliant word Mark Clements) have inspired me to answer the tests that will surely come this school year with positive energy, optimism, and enthusiasm. This year I will be a purple cow. I will drive my energy bus fueled with my One Word: Joy.
I could continue this blog explaining my vision for this school year through my eyes. Instead, I have decided to write through the eyes of a fictional new colleague. Dave Burgess describes this letter-writing exercise through the eyes of a fictional student in his book Teach Like A Pirate . This letter is what I want all of my colleagues to experience this year because of their relationships with me.
Dear Corbat (My closest friends refer to me as 'Corbat', so this fictional colleague would too):
I heard about you from some of our colleagues. They told me that you bring your passion for teaching, leading, and learning with you wherever you go. They said that you are one of the most approachable educators that they have ever worked with and that you are a 'go to person'. Over and over I was told that you love to share, collaborate, and learn with us. That you encourage others and will even cheer for anyone who is running through the hall to get somewhere quickly by yelling, "Go, go, go! I believe in you! You can do it!" I thought to myself, "Is this chick crazy?"
Then I met you. They were right. You model dedication to students, staff and to our school district day in and day out through your actions and words. You are humble enough to follow and learn from others, yet confident enough to teach and lead others. You treat everyone as if they are your family. I feel the love coming through from you when you listen to me, encourage me, or problem-solve with me. I can tell that you are engaged fully in our conversations, just like the quote on your wall says: "Wherever you are, be all there."
I know that you understand the value in taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them. And I love that you encourage me to take risks, all the while being there to support me. Corbat, there is this "we can do anything" type of attitude that radiates from you. This attitude is contagious! You are so fun to work with and have an amazing sense of humor. You make school an amazing place for all of us, students and staff alike. I am excited to work with you this year and in years to come. You have a genuine love for education, children and for a culture of learning!
Your new colleague
This is my vision for this school year. When I lack motivation or inspiration, I will re-read this post and re-dedicate myself to fulfilling my vision. My GPS is set and my energy bus is fueled and ready to go! This is going to be an AMAZING school year.
Note: Special thanks to my friends and colleagues Jodie Morgan and Tonya Brownfield for the real letters of recommendation you wrote for me as I have used your words in this fictional letter. I love you both!