Success is Resourcefulness Over Resources

 

Resourcefulness
Image Credit- notsalmon.com

You may remember Xanga as the blogging service that used to rule the world. I remember Xanga as a website that empowered me as a child. Ever since the days of Xanga, I have been engrossed with learning “how” technology works. To set the scene, during this period I was in 5th grade and my family just received our very first computer. At this point, I only knew how to do two things with a computer:

1. How to use Microsoft Word
2. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) like a pro

Game Changer

Once my parents purchased dial-up internet, I stumbled across Xanga. Xanga was nothing short of a game-changer for how I saw the world. Before this moment, I never saw a website where kids, and people of many ages, posted their thoughts, pictures, and musical playlists.

My mind raced with endless questions; I immediately wanted to post my views, while reading the ideas of others. I also desired to learn how to change a site’s layout, script, font, color, and more. But, even with the internet, I did not know how to figure this out. Therefore, I determined that if I was going to find the answers my questions, I needed to play around with the website so I could learn myself. Through this determination, I taught myself HTML.

When I was in school, these tech skills were not valuable in the classroom, and I spent much of my alone time at home diving into this. I would have loved to be a kid today where coding, STEAM, and Makerspaces flourish in many schools.

What Will Prevail?

With all of this said, even though the tools are exciting, we cannot lose sight that the people should always take precedence over the “things.”

In some schools, even with the greatest tools, teachers wait to learn these technologies until someone shows them how to use it seamlessly. Then, students are often trained to remain at a standstill before trying a new tool, app, or game until a teacher shows them the way.

But, here is the issue- when we continually lead with this ideology, we are inadvertently teaching that the tool is more important than who we are. Also, without directly saying it, we are communicating learned helplessness when it is time to learn a new tool.

We need to shift our thinking to resourcefulness OVER resources. I love learning and teaching new tools when there is meaning behind it, but the tools will never solely propel us to our goals. What will prevail is the tenacity of the team and the students; Tenacity will always prevail over any opposing force. We cannot forget that technology is an essential asset, but it is not the end-all-be-all.

Lasting Thoughts

We can surround ourselves with:

-The most brilliant network
-The newest and brightest technology
-The highest quality of resources
-The largest sum of money

But, all of these incredible assets will not be as valuable unless we are equipped with the resourcefulness, determination, and self-reliance to navigate these assets. Technology is powerful, but WE are even more important; Let us become our best resource.

Kara Welty

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10 Habits of Positive Educators

Positive Educators

My mom is my role model for happiness. She taught me, years ago, that you do not just have good days, you CREATE them. Throughout the years, this quote has stuck with me and has shaped me into the person I am and the person I strive to be. This overarching idea of positivity has inspired me to create this post.

Most people may not realize that positive educators are habitual in nature. Here are 10 Habits, of the many, that I have curated to help shape my own mindset.

Positive people and educators:

1. Look for the positive, rid the negative

As Tony Robbins says, you cannot pretend that the negativity or the “weeds” around you do not exist. For example, continually repeating “there are no weeds, there are no weeds,” will not magically cause the adverse aspects of your life to disappear. Instead, focus on the positive and actively LOOK for it. What you focus on, you will find. When you do see negativity, train your brain to do something about the issue, rather than venting and sulking. Action and mindset are the only ways to accomplish change.

2. Are fountains, not drains

Listen to your inner dialogue and outer dialogue. What tone and messages are you communicating to others about yourself and your values? We need to be aware of the messages and body languages we are sending out to others. Be the fountain, not the drain.

3. Lift those up around them

I often think to myself, “What can I do to make ___________’s day?” I try to be in tune to those who may need an extra lift of love and I do everything in my power to act on that observation with purpose and care.

4. Are grateful

Cheerful people notice the small things that others do around them to be positive change makers. Try to show your appreciation to others in all they do. When you show others that their time is valuable to you and that they matter, you are more likely to see continued positive results from that individual; This applies to students and colleagues alike. Every single person wants to feel noticed, even if they do not show it.

5. Do not forget about other happy people!

When you see a happy person, it is usually not a coincidence. Happy people regularly make efforts to maintain joyful spirits. Do not forget about your happy people! Your blissful colleagues, students, and friends are often the people who need love the most. Happy people fill up the buckets of others, but also crave and need that same love in return.

6. See life through outside lenses

Positive educators do not just understand their life; They take the time to think about what others are dealing with in front of and behind the scenes. Positive educators do not just consider their opinion; they think of the “why” behind the views and actions of others before making irrational judgments and conclusions.

7. Do not make a mountain out of a molehill

Stop. Breathe. Refocus. Positive people catch themselves before reaching an oblivion of pure terror and stress. When you feel your heartbeat rising, ask yourself: Will this problem matter tomorrow? In 3 weeks? In a year? Regain perspective and move forward accordingly.

8. Find value in everyone

Everyone around you has a strength and personal treasure to share with the world. Find value in EVERYONE around you, even in times when it may be difficult. Once you find that special gift in someone, your viewpoint of them will change forever.

9. Read regularly

Find a happy person and I guarantee you that you also have found an avid reader. Happy people look to the advice of others to continually self-improve and read, read, read!

10. Think of each day as another chance to start fresh!

Positive people do not allow yesterday’s problems to weigh them down today. Moreover, they know that each moment and each day is an incredible opportunity to begin again with a fresh slate of limitless opportunities!

Kara Welty

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Aim for Work-Life Integration over Balance

-There is no such thing as work-life balance. The balance has to be within you.-

Ever since I began my career, I have heard and seen stories of struggle with workers, educators, and leaders striving for the abstract idea of “work and life balance.”

When people aim to reach this lofty goal of balance and do not reach it, they can feel filled with shame and guilt. They ask themselves questions like, “Am I a good enough mother, father, husband, wife, family member, or friend?” “Am I spending enough time or am I spending too much time at work?” “What do people think of me?”

I often wonder where this idea of balance came from and who put this into our heads? This may come as a shock to you, but there is not a scale out there that is tracking our journeys to balance because, in my opinion, real balance does not exist.

We may have this visual in our heads of what balance looks like, but that picture changes day-to-day based on demands placed upon us. Rather than striving for balance, what if we strive for a work and life integration? A life where our hobbies, career, family, friends and personal life are working together, rather than pulling us apart? Subsequently, what if we then chose the degree of work and life integration that we are okay with? I believe everyone should do what is important to them (whatever that is) and to integrate these items into their lives as desired, while not worrying what anyone else thinks.

No one can tell you what is best for you. Only you can figure that out; You are the one living and feeling the pulse of your life. You will adjust your integration levels naturally as your life changes with work, family, and beyond. Do not shoot for a perfect formula or feel pressure to do so. After all, we are simply humans doing the best we can living without a written guide to follow, so let’s follow our intuition.

Having said this, we do not have to have it all figured out. We just have to do whatever it is that makes each of us happy in all areas of our lives while giving ourselves grace along the way. Integrate what YOU want to integrate into your life. Then, choose the level at which you want to incorporate the different puzzle pieces. Leave the pressures behind to follow an ordained path set before us.

Be you and own YOUR life.

Kara Welty

 

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