The Search for that One Little (but very BIG) Word 2020
January 7, 2020
I hesitated to let go of my one little word for 2019. It doesn’t seem used up. It has served me so well. I think I could still learn more from it… However the chosen way is to let our last little word go with the former year and embrace a new word for a new year. I have embraced a word every year for the last 10 years. My last word, reflect, was my most successful word to date. I spent the last year reflecting on my practice, a habit I don’t think I’ll ever let go. In 2018, my little word was notice. Again, it carried me through that year drawing attention to so many bright spots in education that I saw. My little word for 2017 was linger, to slow down and proverbially smell the roses. It taught me to be in the moment with students and their teachers.
This year seemed trickier. A word was not waiting in the wings. It seemed in the year 2020, I should have a word related to vision. Twenty twenty: visually accurate acuity, easily done discernment or assessment like hindsight is 2020. Always good to work on keeping the vision crystal clear. However, as a word, Vision didn’t fill the void. Noticing? I had just used that word two years ago. My PLN encouraged me to keep searching, keep listening, keep trying words on for size. It will come.
What did I want this year’s word to represent? All the accumulation of what I had learned in the last few years and a step forward into the future. I wanted to notice bright spots and keep them in my thinking instead of the challenges that often crowd in. I wanted to remind my colleagues of what we have already accomplished and how our next steps will be seismic in impact but smaller in exertion that recent years. I made a list of others’ words that I’ve read this past week. Pause, meander, humor, balance, here. My word wasn’t among those.
I made a list of some possible new thoughts for me. Victories, simply, motivate, listen, connect, collaborate, curious. Hmm… Curious? I have a stickie on the front of my collaboration journal that says openly curious, vulnerable, full of questions. I love that saying at the beginning of the Heinemann podcast, we value teachers as decision makers and students as curious learners. While curious is something I am, it doesn’t seem to be a direction forward for me right now.
All those c-words were drawing me in: connect, collaborate, curious. Which one will be the set intention for 2020? Connect. Definition: to join or fasten together, usually by some intervening; to place or establish a relationship.
There it is. My intention for 2020. Connect. Connection. Connections. Through intervening, join together people and ideas, and people and ideas. Taking the time to make personal connections but also helping people to envision connections. (see what I did there?!?) . My seeing was there all along. When we linger, we notice. When we notice, we reflect. When we reflect, we see the connections between the units of study, reading and writing, literacy and content area studies, one grade and another, one student and their teacher, one student and another student, one culture and another culture.
So here’s to connections: the ones we notice and the ones we create.
Welcome twenty-twenty. You’re coming into focus now.