5 Characteristics of People Who Inspire Others

Nothing refreshes the soul more than being around another human being who inspires and lifts you to new dimensions. I yearn for these moments of inspiration and feel fortunate to feel inspired each day.

When I think of people who have inspired me in the past and present, they tend to embody these five traits (along with many others). In no particular order, here are characteristics that inspire others to be all they can be:

1. Servant Heart

The best leaders are the best servants. The most inspiring people are the people who love others with all their heart and all they are. Servant leaders make you feel that they will drop anything at any time to help you and to love you, without any expectations. Servants are fountains and not drains; They aim to lift people UP as a result of their presence.

       2. Brave

All progress begins with someone who is brave. I like to think that we were all called to be bold. But, when we think of someone who is brave, we often imagine a warrior geared in steel, ready to fight for war. But, bravery does not always look like this because bravery is seen even in the smallest circumstances.

Furthermore, being brave does not mean that you are not scared. Bravery often means that inside you are trembling and terrified, but you do the right thing anyways.

It is also important to note that people who are brave are more likely to be risk-takers. Individuals who are courageous understand that once you fail, you do not fail forever.

       3. Vulnerable

Love and vulnerability are the only bridges that can unite us.  When people express an unpopular belief, try something new, ask for help, and admit that they made a mistake, they are vulnerable. Being open and vulnerable allows you to be seen, but that exposure can be enough to scare us away.

Yet, ironically enough, when you are around vulnerable people, you become more naturally vulnerable as a result. Seeing others share often gives you permission to do the same. People who “dare greatly,” as author Brene Brown puts it, can be the catalyst to help themselves and others be all they can be.

       4. Accepting of Others

When we think of the idea of accepting others, there is more to it than we would like to admit. Accepting others is not:

  • Being tolerant
  • Making sure others do things that “make you happy”
  • Directing others to be more like you
  • Having people do things your way

Accepting others for who they are is a life-long skill that we must practice daily to evolve in our practice. Being graced in the presence of someone who is accepting gives others permission to be EVERYTHING they are.

People are more likely to grow and be the best versions of themselves when they are near a team of people who accept them for who they are from the beginning.

       5. Tenacious

Those who are tenacious are persistent and exude determination. When they have opportunities to give up, they do not take them. These individuals do take a moment to breathe and regain their vision, but they always keep their eye turned to the future.

It is important to note that people who are tenacious are not tenacious solely for the purpose to be relentless. Their tenaciousness is focused around values and visions that they hold dear. More often than not, their values are centered around serving the people, community, and the world around them.


What traits do you think that I could I add to the list? Who are people who inspire you to be all you are? 


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The Tough Stories That Deserve to Be Told

Image Credit: oprah.com

Teaching is hard. Leading is hard. Both roles are meaningful and worth it, but that does not make them any less difficult.

Although I believe in perseverance and positivity, I also believe in being authentic. Some of the tough stories that we are coping with as educators and leaders can weigh us down if we do not have the opportunity to share them.


I will never forget my first year of teaching. I was working at a low-income school, and my class was filled with a dynamic mix of behaviors and needs. One particular student in my class was destructive to the classroom, to staff members, and to students on a daily basis. I was genuinely scared. But, on the surface, I held it all together and did whatever I could to keep the other students safe. Staff members in the school knew how tough this situation was and praised how well I was handling it, especially since I was a first-year teacher at the time.

Inside, I felt hopeless and terrified. I kept a smiling face on and was as proactive as possible with what was going on, but I did not expect to encounter this experience during my first year of teaching. Although I appreciated the praise from others, all I wanted was a shoulder to cry on or a person that I could tell my worries to. However, since I had a handle on the situation, others seemingly thought that I was doing just fine on my own.


I think many of us have similar stories like this that we can relate to within our career.

Sometimes positive and tenacious spirits can be the best attribute, but it can also be your Achille’s heal.

We sometimes assume that if we are usually a positive person, that we cannot open up and share struggling points; That by sharing something negative that is happening to us, that it also makes us negative. We also think that if we share our pitfalls, that we then place that burden on someone else; So, to avoid this, we handle it ourselves.

But, I know now from experience that we cannot put the weight of the world single-handedly on our backs as educators and leaders. We can remain positive and determined, yet still share our tough stories with someone else. This is what makes us real. This is what makes us all authentic. We are all going through struggles and we are not alone.

From my background with leading new teacher induction programs to leading curriculum and department teams, to working hand-in-hand with teachers on a variety of grade levels, I have gained much valued insight. It is a beautiful thing to share the successes of your day and what is going right. But, also, sometimes what people need is a listening, trusting, non-judging, and open ear willing to hear anything and everything.

As Maya Angelou says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” We understand that quote as it relates to our students entirely but resist the urge to apply it to our personal story. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.

Taking this idea further, take a deeper look at the people around you and find ways to lighten the burden of others as well. Lifting others up can be the most effective way to lift your spirits as well.

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A Dynamic World Requires Dynamic Classrooms

We live in a dynamic world today; there is no question about that; The digitalization and globalization of the world we have grown to know are unlike anything we have ever seen.

Students are growing up in a highly competitive world full of uncertainties. For example, jobs that our kids will be applying for in years to come are jobs that have not even been discovered yet, methods for digital communication and collaboration continue to improve and diversify, and innovation across the globe continues to surprise us all in areas of STEM, medical research, education, business, and beyond.

We do not know what is going to happen in the future. As this YouTube video titled, 21st Century Education, states “the pace of change is staggering.” The movement of change has accelerated to speeds that leave educators feeling weary and often confused on where to go next when equipping students for the future that seems to look like an ENORMOUS question mark.

The truth is that we do not have to know all of the answers. Teachers in previous years did not know what would occur in the future either, but they continued persevering for the betterment of the students they served.

We often forget to consider the determination, hard work, and advocacy that many educators positively imprinted on our professions even before our time.

Just look at the old school house picture above. Some may see this picture and think of outdated teaching practices, but I like to see the history of teaching and learning.

Although teaching is changing faster than ever before, change has always transpired in the scope of education. I believe it is crucial that we acknowledge and recognize the educators, leaders, and philosophers who advocated for progressive education, which laid the foundation for us to be successful now.

PBS Online compiled an incredibly informative timeline that highlights the history of teaching from 1772 to present day. Take a look at the timeline if you want to feel rejuvenated from 20th-century educators like John Dewey who fought for student-centered education. Some of these ideologies that we are seeking today, were similar conditions educators wanted then, but they were based on different contexts. As PBS states,

John Dewey, perhaps the most influential educational philosopher the 20th century, challenged the rigidity that characterized many American classrooms. By the 1920s he had become the standard-bearer for Progressive Education, arguing that democracy must prevail in the classroom. Both teachers and children needed to be free, he argued, to devise the best forms of learning for each child. These assumptions turned the hierarchy of classrooms and schools upside down. While the implementation of progressive education has been uneven over the past 100 years, its influence on teachers’ roles within schools has been notable.

John Dewey also brilliantly says, “Education, therefore, is a process of living, not a preparation for future living.” 

Notice the two keywords I bolded above: free and process.

I think Dewey was onto something BIG . Although it is our diligent responsibility as educators to prepare our students for the future, we cannot forget that education is a process and a JOURNEY. Let us still use technology with a purpose, connect students with a global audience, give students opportunities to create, and transform our teaching processes. Except, let us always keep in mind that although we want our students to be as dynamic as the world around them, we cannot expect this to happen overnight because growing for the future never truly ends.

Let us also to continue to allow freedom and openness in our voyages as we navigate the newness and uncertainty of what will happen next.  After all, this only makes sense- Dynamic students and adaptable students will always go hand-in-hand; You cannot have adaptability without future-ready or future-ready without adaptability. 

Here is to YOU– The dynamic educators who came before us, the dynamic leaders who stand beside us, and the dynamic students who will continue to change the world.

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Reverse Innovation: Do More with Less

I live for lessons and ideas that I can apply to all areas of my life; Reverse Innovation is one of those transformational ideas.

To give you a short backstory, a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a TED Talk from

Vijay Govindarajan titled “Reverse Innovation.” Needless to say, I was pulled in instantaneously. I thoroughly enjoy learning from global experts in all areas: business, finance, leadership, education, and more. We often stay in our own bubble of expertise to a fault. I have found that there is a plethora of learning that can take place from listening to the successes, and trials, from those in other professions.

While watching Govindarajan’s TED talk, I was hooked. Although his principles mainly apply to the global economy, they can truly be transferable to a myriad of pursuits, careers, and passions. I also recommend reading Govindarajan’s book, Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Anywhere.
The above infographic depicts a few of my favorite points from Govindarajan:
  • “Do a lot more with a lot less”
  • “Change from value for money to value for many (people)”
  • “Be curious about all problems”
  • “Think ambitions over expectations”
  • “You cannot unlock new opportunities by using the same logic” 
These concepts are written effortlessly, yet have a much more complex meaning. Furthermore, the meaning of these interpretations can change drastically based on the perspective you bring to the table.
Govindarajan even shares real stories of how reverse innovation is changing the developing world by offering “universal access to world-class quality” at low prices that are unheard of. For example, a $30 artificial leg was made using recycled plastic yogurt cups from Thailand doctors; Can you imagine? Miraculous innovations are occurring all around the world, even in unlikely places.

Applying the Concepts to Education

With tightening budgets and growing expectations for educators, one may find it difficult to transpose the above ideas to education. There always seems to be more things we want for our students, yet not enough money to make it all happen on the surface. But still, educators all over the world are finding ways to be innovative and “doing more with less” while focusing on the people, ambitions, and opportunities before anything else.  For example, design thinking, Project Lead the Way, STEM, Makerspaces, and Cardboard Challenges are just some of the ways teachers are advocating for these ideas by using inexpensive items like legos, cardboard, and ducktape.
I am curious to learn from you: How are you, your colleagues, or your school “doing a lot more with a lot less?
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7 Ways to Let Students LEAD!

 

Of all my passions, nothing holds more meaning to me than empowering students to LEAD! When we allow students to lead, we are more likely to empower them not only in their day-to-day learning but in their LIFE. And in my opinion, that is one of the greatest things, if not THE greatest thing, we can do for the kids we serve.

On this same note, although I could write a post that included 100 ways to let students lead, I wanted to synthesize as much information as I could in 7 easy to remember examples, that are also some of my favorite launchpads for learning:

1.  Start student-led class discussions

What I have found from experience is that student-led class discussions are not an “activity,” it is an experience and a meaningful one at that. Too often, we structure our classrooms so we are the sage on the stage and the sole person who can take and answer questions. Rather than building upon students curiosity, we inadvertently and accidently squash them. I must note that there are important and worthwhile moments for teachers to deliver content and field questions in this manner, but it does not have to be the only way.

Helping students lead discussions is a life-long skill that is crucial to build even at the youngest of ages because it proves to be even more important as the years go on. Rather than being terrified that students will argue with one another or will not know what to do during a student-led discussion, think of it as a learning opportunity that will pay dividends in their future. Show them the way and watch them soar. You will run into obstacles at first with this approach, but stay persistent to see student engagement and overall love for learning rise. This article by

This article by Education Week on student-led discussions, with strategies on how to get started, was written two years ago and still rings true today.

 

2.  Choose student tech experts to teach students & teachers new ways to integrate technology

Whether you start a Student Tech before/after school program, or you choose a few students in your class to be “tech experts,” students LOVE teaching other students new ways to integrate technology into the classroom. It never ceases to amaze me how much students know about technology. I often ask my students to teach me what they are doing and how they are using technology outside of school. We then spin the conversation to determine how we can integrate that technology in a meaningful way for their learning at school, too.

 

3.  Ask students their input on how we can improve school and put that input into ACTION!

Students have so many ideas on how to improve the school culture and day-to-day procedures, but we often forget to ask. Whether you ask them about how to better your lessons or how to improve student behavior during unstructured times, students often are untapped resources. Not only that, but they desperately want to help!

I will never forget, when I asked my former sixth-grade students on how we could improve our classroom climate to help all learners feel apart of our team. They immediately came up with the idea of “Leader Jobs.” Although having leader jobs is not new in the classroom, they wanted to put their own spin on it and to CREATE the jobs that would exist in the classroom, rather than me creating them. Having said that, through this experience, I allowed them to lead and saw students who were more ecstatic to come to school than ever before because they had a PURPOSE. Students designed jobs like “Twitter Expert, Instagram Leader, Inspirational Leader,” and more.

Moral of the story: Ask for their input and then make valiant efforts to do something about their feedback. If we only ask and forget to do, we will lose the trust of our kids.

 

4.  Have students create individualized learning playlists that differentiate learning

Several months ago, I heard this idea of creating individualized learning playlists for kids. Before I even researched how other educators have used this practice, I decided to give it a try myself with a few students first; I wanted the creation process with my students to be as organic as possible.

After students have tried these playlists for a couple of months, I have learned an abundant amount from my students about what they like, what does work, and what has not been beneficial for their learning process. I have a post in the works on this topic, but I wanted to share that I have found HUGE student participation and leadership through students being able to learn and create their way at their own pace.

Until this next post on this is created, check out Jennifer Gonzalez’s blog post on this subject.

 

5.  Try a student-led edcamp

This has to be one of my favorite student-led ideas I have tried this year. Read my blog post here on how to get one started!

 

6.  Embed Genius Hour, Project Based Learning and Makerspaces to gain more hands-on approaches to learning

When students are able to learn LIVE through trying, they are leading their learning. Here are a few experts and resources on these topics to get these ideas started in your classroom or school:

  • Genius Hour
    • Check out Don Wettrick: Author of Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level – He is a guru on all things Genius Hour.
    • Genius Hour Twitter Chat:  chat = 1st Thurs of each month at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST
    • One of the most passionate educators I know who uses Genius Hour in her classroom is Jen Schneider– Connect with her on Twitter; She loves to share ideas and resources.
  • Project Based Learning (PBL)
    • Check out Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy, authors of Hacking Project Based Learning: I can honestly say that this book was such a worthwhile read and broke down the thinking and action behind project-based learning, in addition to giving meaningful ways to embed it within your class.
  • Makerspaces
    • You cannot say “Makerspaces” without mentioning the queen of Makerspaces, Laura Fleming. Follow her on Twitter, if you do not already, and check out her book and website on Makerspace learning here.

7. Empower students to show their learning with new and innovative approaches.

Do not be the keeper of all the knowledge, be the caretaker of student talent. Ask students to show their learning in ways that you have not even thought of- Allow them to be the designers, too.

Kara’s Tweetable: When we help students live outside the box in their thinking, they will also gain outside of the box success with their learning as a result.

Take risks with your kids- You will learn abundantly more than you would have ever before if you simply played it safe.

 

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Give Your Love, Watch Someone Grow

 Image credit: QuoteFancy

 

My Mom, myself, my brother & my Dad at my Masters Graduation Ceremony for Educational Administration last year

 

Throughout my life, and to this day, my Mom has always been my foundation of what love is. She embodies love. She breathes love. She IS love.

She is that one person in my life that knows and understands me better than anyone else.

She has:

-Always known exactly what to say at just at the right time

-Supported me through every decision I have made

-Loved me unconditionally

-Taught me how to trust my heart and intuition above all else

When I wanted to become an educator years ago, most people tried to talk me out of it due to a multitude of reasons. Some believed that I would be wasting my intelligence and potential with being an educator. But, not my mom. My mom was the only one that advised me to follow my heart and to never feel bad for doing so. She saw my undeniable passion for teaching and knew that nothing could replace that fire in my soul- Not money, perception, or the opinions of others.

My mom and the first class I EVER taught. They loved her as much I do; This picture brings me to tears, every single time

 

Her love has shown me how to love. I see how she loves me, my family, her job, and people as a whole. She would give the shirt off her back and all of the money in her bank account to anyone who needed it. Furthermore, she believes that time is the best thing you can offer someone. Only a few people even know that she spends her lunch breaks helping struggling students to read (for no cost) because she wants to make a difference. She has shown me by her example that we do not have to wait to make a difference, WE ARE THE DIFFERENCE.

This website, this blog, my career, and who I am today would not even exist if it were not for my Mom. She has always believed in me more than I believed in myself. In her eyes, I could do it all. I could conquer any dream, and climb any mountain. Her opinion and belief in me has steered me forward, even when I have not believed in myself.

Each day, my goal is to love students unconditionally like the way my Mom has loved me. Even when I was hard to love, my Mom loved me. Even when I had crazy dreams, my Mom believed in me.

Here is to loving each student, each colleague, each friend, and each person we encounter with the same kind of love that my mom has shown to me.

To my Mom- I owe you the world. I love you. I can only hope and dream to be half the person you are. Thank you.

 

Kara’s Tweetable : “We do not have to wait to make a difference, We are the difference.”

 

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4 Steps to Risk-Taking

Risk-taking is not an art form; It is a conscious choice that we can choose to make. It is also a normal part of the learning process.

Each day we ask our students to take risks in our classrooms. We ask our kids to:

  • Dive into activities that they may or may not be good at
  • Share their ideas and opinions, even when they may be introverted or lack confidence
  • Try something the second we ask them, without hesitation or apprehension

But, when do WE find time to take risks as the teacher, as the adult? 

The most successful educators that I have ever met, who are the best at reaching kids, are masters at taking risks in the classroom every single day. Some days these risks may be mini-risks, while other days they are full-blown, terrifying, and monumental risks.

The other week I earned a free year of ClassCraft premium. One of our brave teachers, Molly, decided to literally jump into ClassCraft with her students one day and allowed HER STUDENTS to take control. Although she watched video tutorials on the process ahead of time, she still trusted students enough to learn and teach her. Since students were already familiar with games that include Warriors, Mages, and Healers, they were able to teach us more than we would have known through our own personal experiences alone. Never underestimate the knowledge that students can bring to the table.

What I have learned is that it is OKAY to be scared, it is just NOT OKAY to not try or give up.

How can you start with risk-taking? Start here:

1. Find your mission

Although taking random risks on a whim can be fun and still have a purpose, it is more meaningful to take a multitude of risks based on a mission you are focused on.  Determine your mission first. Do you want to be more innovative? Take more risks based on that vision. Do you want to improve on your specific teaching strategies in a content area? Focus on taking risks in that specific area. Once you see success and small progress in one area, you are more likely to take bigger risks in the future.

2. Commit to it

Nothing feels worse than saying you will take a risk and then you end up never following through. Just go for it. Commit 110%. I have found personal success by informing others about my risks and goals so they can be my accountability partners and hold me to it.

3. Be patient and persistent

I have a promise for you: You will fail and you will fail again. Change your perception of failure and realize that risk-taking and failure go hand-in-hand; You cannot have one without the other. I also can guarantee you this: Although failure can hit you in the stomach sometimes, failure will always bring new insights, new pathways, and new journeys…we simply have to be able to see the positives right in front of us. Without failure, we would never get better.

4. Share your journey with others

Share your risks, share your adversities, share your successes. Through having others join you on your journey, you can be that role model of risk-taking for someone else. Furthermore, once you open up, others will be more likely to share their journey with you as well.

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17 Midwest Educators to Follow on Twitter

Today, I presented at the Midwest Educational Technology Conference #METC17 where I had the honor to be awarded as a Spotlight Educator. I also had the meaningful experience to present on Engaging Students and Families on Twitter and Instagram and will present again tomorrow on Digital Storytelling with my dear friend Don Goble.

During my Spotlight presentation today, I was brought to tears. I saw current colleagues, former colleagues, personal friends, friends I have networked with on social media, and beyond who attended my session to be there for me. Even my Mom’s fantastic former boss attended my session to cheer me on. While I saw these friendly faces, I was reminded and humbled of how grateful I am to have such a strong support system and network who support me, care about me, and who are always there to lift me up.

Therefore, from inspiration at #METC17, I wanted to share 17 of my friends in the Midwest who you NEED to follow, in no particular order. These are genuine people and educators, inside and out; Learn and grow from them by following them on Twitter.

Click the hyperlink next to the name to go directly to that person’s Twitter profile.
  1. Don Goble – @dgoble2001
  2. Brent Catlett – @catlett1
  3. Sage Arnote- @mrarnote
  4. JP Prezzavento – @jpprezz
  5. Laura Gilchrist – @lauragilchrist4
  6. Julie Smith – @julnilsmith
  7. David Geurin – @davidgeurin
  8. Beth Houf – @bethhouf
  9. Lauren Mertz – @mslaurenmertz
  10. Tina Lauer – @tnalau
  11. Aaron Duff – @education_geek
  12. Christie Scott – @mrsscott503
  13. Mary Kienstra – @beebekienstra
  14. Mindy Southern – @mindysouth
  15. Michelle Dirksen – @mdirksen
  16. Stacey Stubits – @stubits411
  17. Debbie Fucoloro – @debbiefuco

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Finding Your Sense of Clarity

Image Credit: Fourth Revolution

 

Clarity: The quality of clearness.

I explain clarity as the mental sharpness and awakening of knowledge. When you feel clarity, you gain understanding of what you need to do in your life; Clarity is that monumental “life-bulb” moment.

Clarity is essential because without it, we often make decisions that are misguided and wrong for us, or the people around us.

 

But how do you gain clarity, you ask?

The truth is, I do not think you can gain full clarity 100 percent of the time. This is life and life is not perfect. But, there are strategies we can practice to help us become more in tune with who we are and what is best for our inner souls.

Recently, I watched this video from Marie Forleo about Goal-Setting. Within her video, she was able to describe perfectly how I have always felt about following your heart as your guide. One of Marie’s best mantras that she lives by is “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Until you put something into action and TRY, you will never have the clarity if you are making the right decision.

I am someone who tends to live inside my head; I constantly have thoughts and different case scenarios running around in my subconscious. Due to this, I sometimes lie awake at night at trying to solve the world’s problems. Funny enough, I have found out that more times than not, if I stop thinking and start DOING, I feel more resolution. I feel abundantly more satisfied. Until you DO, you might as well worry your life away because your mind alone cannot prepare you for life, only your action and experience will.

 

Tips for Gaining Clarity:

  • Dip your foot before diving in

Do you want to have the opportunity to move, to travel, or to try a new role within your building or profession? Ask questions and learn from those who you admire or would like to be more like. Can you shadow that person for a day? Ask questions and put yourself out there for different learning opportunities to give you a varied perspective before you completely dive in and change your life. Disclaimer: Sometimes diving in is perfectly fine, too.

  • Trust your gut

As my Mom always told me- Your inner-self knows more than you ever will; Trust it. When you get that nagging feeling telling you to do something, follow it and listen. Especially if that feeling persists. You gain more regret from NOT trying than you will from trying and then failing.

  • Give yourself grace

Sometimes you will follow that feeling of intuition and you will find out later that you may have regrets. Instead of beating yourself up, think of each opportunity as a chance to learn more and be more. Even wrong turns that you have taken develops your wisdom and self-truth in deeper capacities than what WOULD have occurred if everything went your way. Give yourself grace. Affirm what you learned through the experience and how you are better now because of it. Turn that potential negative into a life-changing moment that you can be proud of.

Kara’s Tweetable:I have found out that more times than not, if I stop thinking and start DOING, I feel more resolution.” – Kara Welty

What are strategies you use to gain clarity? I would love to hear your feedback- Add your tips below.

 

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From Colleagues to my Second Family

 

Last June, I moved across the state of Missouri.

I was asked to take on an incredible role as a Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist in Kansas City. When I heard about this opportunity, I felt God was pulling at my heart to take this chance and to take the risk. “I always envisioned myself in another city, so why not try it now,” I thought.

I know from experience now that moving to a new city alone, while not knowing anything about how to get around, is one fast way to learn and grow COMPLETELY. New town. New workplace. New home. New roads to navigate. New insights. New everything!

My then-boyfriend and now fiance, Adam, supported my move and knew there was no stopping my passion for education. Smart guy! Traveling three and a half hours back and forth to see each other, while planning a wedding and still trying to see friends and family, has been tougher than I would ever admit. But, I would not change a thing.

Through this experience, I have a second family; My colleagues.

After staying at work this week until 7 p.m. and enjoying the time spent with my co-workers, while forgetting that clocks even exist, I finally left work. After driving back home, I messaged my mom to tell her how much I love the people I work with. She responded, with,

“I’m grateful for all of them since they have made it even nicer for you since you are away from Adam and away from where you grew up.”

My mom’s words brought tears to my eyes because she put to words what my heart was trying to express.

We often say as educators that students spend more time at home than at school; The same applies to us as adults. We spend more waking hours at work, with teachers and students than time spent doing anything else. For this reason, and many others, I am grateful that my colleagues are MORE than people I see at work. They are people that I CARE about, and people who care about me; Not just as fellow educators, but as humans first.

They take care of me. We take care of each other.

Just this week:
-A co-worker saw I needed another ice scraper, and she brought one into work to lend a hand.
-I was surprised this morning with my favorite diet soda waiting for me on my desk.
-I looked in my mailbox to find the sweetest card waiting for me.
-A colleague lovingly said she was my “second mom” and my “Kansas City mom.”

I have no words to describe the gratitude I feel for these exceptional individuals.

Thank you for making Kansas City the remarkable city it is. Thank you for risk-taking with me. Thank you for seeing my heart. And most importantly, thank you for loving me.

Here is to everyone who is reading this: Hug a co-worker. Be a family. Show your love. Say thank you to even the smallest acts that make an impact in your day-to-day life.

These days that we spend with each other are not just “school days,” the days are our LIVES. Let’s make them count and love each other UP.

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