A New Beginning that Never Ends

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” –Albert Einstein

My last first day of school was in 1987. Just like in previous years, the night before was not a restful night for me.  Finally, I was a senior in high school. I stayed up all night because I was so excited. I wondered about my teachers, and I wondered if I would have classes with any of my friends. I gave little thought to my actual class work because I was a good student. I really did not have to put much effort into what I did at school. My grades were good, and I did not worry about getting into a good college.  Side note: I was accepted into every college that I applied to but decided to go the what was then known as West Georgia College. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who previously was a professor at the College called it the ‘Harvard of the South’. It was at West Georgia that my passion for service, leadership, and ultimately, servant leadership was born.

School starts in a couple of weeks for the students in my district. As an instructional technology coach, I work 210 days, so summer vacation is over for me. Going back to work does not bother me at all. I love what I do, and I look forward to learning new things and sharing my knowledge with the teachers. I’ve missed my colleagues, and I miss the day-to-day routine that comes with work.  I am just as excited about going back to work as I was about going back to school. There’s still a nerdy little kid inside of me.

Getting ready to go back to work made me think about school. I think about what the students need to do and what they will actually do. I think about their hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities.  I think about the teachers, and I think about the administrators.  From time to time, I wonder how things would be if I had my own school. Would I be a good administrator?  Would the students achieve academic success?  Would they have good character?  Would I be able to take off my principal hat and get involved in student activities? What about the teachers?  Would I be firm yet fair in their eyes?  Would I be the kind of instructional leader they could respect?  Would I be an effective school leader?  What would my school look like?

I wonder what things would be like if I had gotten a job as an assistant principal. I interviewed several times, yet I was not selected.  Each time I got the phone call, I felt more dejected than before. I felt I was qualified.  Why couldn’t the interview committee see that?  Looking back in retrospect, I realize that I wasn’t supposed to be an assistant principal.  At least not at that time in my career. I am where I am supposed to be.  I am full of anticipation for a new school year. I am fresh off the high that only an ISTE attendee can have.  I have so many ideas about what to do with the teachers and things I want to do for my own professional and personal growth.

As I mentionedIMG_2784ned in the beginning of my post, I graduated from high school in 1987. My class was the first class to graduate from the ‘new’ Griffin High School. Our motto, “A New Beginning That Never Ends”.  That’s how I feel.  I’m not new anymore, but my new job is a new beginning that never ends.  I am an instructional technology coach and with it comes so many possibilities.


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou

241370_10150597038840570_1955179_oMy mother would have been 68 today.  I say would have because she lost her battle with metastatic vaginal melanoma thirteen years ago.  Before her diagnosis, she worked in our local school system as a kindergarten para-professional.  She did other things as well.  She founded a mentoring program at her elementary school, the Men and Women of Orrs.  It started out as a way to get positive male role models for some of the boys at the school and grew into a program that served both boys and girls and as a result, the students were able to spend quality one on one time with adults. My mother was able to get sponsors for the program, organize field trips, and was featured in an ad in People magazine. She was a Girl Scout leader, a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, a room mother, PTA officer, band parent, and an Army wife. I really can’t put into words all of what she did because she did so much.  She did everything that needed to be done, and she did it with passion.  She baked, sewed, worked outside of the home, and managed to move our family each time the Army said move. Unfortunately, the cancer diagnosis robbed her and us.  Once she was told her cancer was terminal (she was given six months to live), she gave up.  I’m not judging because I don’t know what I would do in that situation.  I suppose she really didn’t give up.  She was given six months to live.  She held the cancer off for eighteen months.

I speak of my mother today because it’s her birthday, and because I want to honor her memory.  I think she knew I wanted to be a teacher; however, she passed away three years before I started teaching.  I think she would be happy with the teacher I became. As I make more of a concerted effort to blog, I have been trying to get focused on my not-so-new anymore job.  I came across an idea last week that really struck a chord with me.  I have been making resolutions for a long time, and I have been not keeping resolutions for even longer. While looking at Twitter, I noticed the hashtag #OneWord.  I did some reading and realized that I didn’t need to make resolutions for this year.  Why set myself up for failure?  There are a lots of things I need to do.  I know it so why make a list.  I needed to find my #OneWord for the year, and let that word drive everything I do.  Because I have been thinking of my mom and all that she did, it came to me that my #OneWord is #passion. She did everything with passion, and it served her well.  I can do the same.

For 2015, I will let passion be my guide.  

As an instructional technology coach, I will approach my job with passion.  The teachers in my district deserve my very best. If I give them my best, they will be better equipped to share our district technology initiatives with our students.  We are here for the students.

As a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, I will approach my life with passion.  I owe it to myself, my family, and friends. Life is short. There is a great big world outside of my home. Living a life with passion means I will love, laugh, and most important, LIVE. I will go, do, see, explore, and learn.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  You lived your life with passion.  For you, I will do the same.