Get Excited

This is my oldest son, Graham. He is excited to share something with you!Untitled design (1)He’s showing off a few of his recent creations from our trips to Lowe’s for their “Build and Grow” kids program. The projects have varying degrees of difficulty, but every week I know that I can count on getting a great shot of Graham showing off what he’s made.

He loves it.

He’ll tell me about what he wants to do with it at home, where it’s going to live in his room, when his brother will be able to play with it (and when he can’t touch it), and so on.

I think most little kids do this. They’ll accomplish something they’re really excited about and proceed to tell everyone about it. Doesn’t matter if you want to know. Doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it before. If they see you, you get to hear about it. And unless you’re really having an off day, it’s hard not to be happy for the kid and get a little excited alongside him/her. There’s something contagious about the excitement of a little kid.

But something changes somewhere along the line. Somewhere between being a kid making something with your dad on a summer weekend and being an adult, the ways we express our excitement change.

I’m not sure what it is that keeps adults from showing our excitement in many of the obvious ways that kids do. I don’t think I’m really qualified to get into a meaningful discussion about what drives that, but I do think that our work as educators is worth getting excited about.

I’d like to share a few things that I’m excited about for next year, and I’d love to hear what you’re excited about, too.

1) This week, we have the first group of students coming back into our building. It’s a small group of new freshmen (about 15% of the freshmen class) who we’re working with to help with the many transitions that moving from eighth grade to high school entail. I’m really excited to get to work with them, and I’m excited to work at a school that values being proactive in the ways that we help students successfully join our campus. I’m also excited because, selfishly, having students in the building keeps me centered around what’s important, serving students. There are a lot of good things that happen while students are gone for the summer (and I know I benefit from the change of pace this provides), but nothing seems to get educators all running the same direction better than serving our students well. I’m pumped for this week!

2) I’m looking forward to putting together professional development that’s different from what we’ve done in the past. We’re adding choice and a few EdCamp elements (voting with your two feet and conversations instead of presentations are two big ones) to provide teachers with an authentic experience of learning with choice. Honestly, I’m a little worried that it will tank, and I think that impacts how I get excited about this (it’s the old “if I don’t act like I’m excited about it, the disappointment will be less” lie). I’m writing it down here so that if you know me, you will hold me to this. It’s time to get excited about something risky.

3) I’m excited to feel capable of challenging and supporting our teachers better than I have been in the past. I finished the year with conversations I enjoyed centered around the question, “What do you hope to change next year?” It was refreshing to hear so much optimism and hope for change from teachers on our campus! I wasn’t surprised by their reaction, but I was surprised that I had never thought to ask about this before. As a result, I’m looking forward to starting those coaching conversations with teachers much earlier than before. I’m enough of a edu-nerd that this alone would be enough to be excited, but I’m far more excited to hear the impact that our teachers want to have on our students. How could I not be excited to encourage educators in their work toward that end?

It’s worth mentioning that I am not the person often called on to be the cheerleader in our school or on our admin team. I’m usually positive, but I’m not overly vocal or passionate or any of the other attributes that normally fit on a top ten list for those who get excited. I’m determined to make sure that’s not going to be an excuse for me. There is too much greatness ready to happen this year in my school (and in yours, too) for us to sit back and not get excited about it. The more we do, the more our students will see good models of it happening. Some of it is sure to trickle down.

If you're changing the world, you're

There is so much that I have to be excited about because there is so much meaningful work happening in our schools. I know it’s happening, and I know it matters. Deep down, you know this; the trick is to pull out your excitement because your work is too valuable to keep to yourself.

So, before you head elsewhere on the internet, think about it: What are you excited about? Share it with someone. Leave a comment here, tell a coworker, post a tweet, or even just write it down. Naming it will make it easier to share. Personality type is no excuse here. Get yourself ready to share your excitement for the coming year because your work is changing the world!