Monday, April 20, 2015

#PositivePostItDay at @NavasotaInt

A few weeks ago, my good friend Tony Sinanis, told me about something he did at his school called Positive Post It Day.  I instantly fell in love with the idea and we did it on my campus last week.

What is Positive Post It Day?

Tony was inspired by this video (and you can see his blog post HERE). Well we spent three days before it building up the anticipation and talking about it everywhere with kids.  When the time came, every individual on campus was challenged to write at least 4 post it notes and share them with others.  They had to write at least on positive one for themselves, one for a classmate, and one for someone who works at the school.

To watch the day unfold is hard to describe.  It's a very powerful moment to walk by classroom doors of classrooms and see the doors covered in sticky notes.  Or to see kids creating mum-like things out of the notes they were receiving.

It was one of those days on campus that I was so thrilled to watch.  One of those days where all that was RIGHT was celebrate and recognized.

How hard was it to do?  Not at all.  How much an impact did it make?  Immeasurable.

So now I challenge YOU!  Find time to get with your campus (or even your own classroom) and do your own #PositivePostItDay!  You'll definitely smile big.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What If.....

So often at this point in the year we begin to think thoughts we don't normally think at the beginning of a school year.  We begin to think things like...

What if I've been doing it wrong all year?

What if I haven't really made an impact on my students?

What if this isn't the career for me?

What if that parent is right, and I am the worst teacher their child has ever had?

What if I can't make it to the end of the week, much less the end of the school year?

What if I'm the worst teacher here?

What if I could have done more?

What if I gave everything and it wasn't enough?

What if my colleagues don't like me?

And the list could go on and on.....

but I want to challenge you today.  When all those "What if?" questions begin to arise and you begin to doubt yourself, your ability, your impact, and your worth, think about one thing...

What if you're wrong?

I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend my life thinking about all the things I could have done.  I want to live right now and look at the faces and hearts and minds that are in front of me right now.  I want to focus on that, and believe that in spite of all my doubts and fears, that I am valued.  I am important.  And I am making an impact every single day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Change is On The Horizon

If you've been following me for very long you know that I took the position of Principal/Lead Learner at Navasota Intermediate this past school year.

It has been the most challenging yet most rewarding year of my career and I wouldn't change it for the world.

This next school year, there will be some changes in my district.  Currently we have a PreK-3rd Grade campus (Webb Elementary; about 900 students) and a 4-5 campus (Mine; Navasota Intermediate; about 350 students).  There is also a PreK-5 campus (High Point Elementary) that is on the southern tip of our county.  As part of another reconstitution, Webb Elementary and my campus will be becoming PreK-5 campuses, so that our district can have three campus that can now be aligned.

That would also mean that my campus would get a name change and be gaining more kids, and the Webb campus would be decreasing at the same time.

I am thrilled about this change.  I really believe having a campus with those ages on it will be huge to building even stronger relationships and helping every child find their version of success.

Last week though something interesting happened.

I was asked to move over to Webb Elementary next year as the principal there.  Talk about a huge vote of confidence to move over to a campus with a much larger student population.

After talking with my administrative team (who would be moving over with me), and after praying about it, I felt like this was the right move at this time.  I can't wait to interact with even more staff, students, and parents.

Due to the reconstitution as well, I will not be leaving my entire current staff behind.  With the restructuring of the grade levels there will be quite a bit of movement of staff and in the coming weeks we (the other two principals and myself) will be looking at just who will be going where.

I can't wait for this next stage in my journey.  I have absolutely loved my time at Navasota Intermediate, and will finish out this year blazing strong.  Here's to the next chapter in the story.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Don't Lose Sight

Teaching is hard.  There are often 1,000 things to do every day.  It's so easy to get lost in what we're doing.

Last week, I realized that happened to me.

As an administrator I feel that it's hugely important that I'm actively involved in all parts of the school.  That includes morning and afternoon duty stations.

Every morning I serve morning car duty.  I'm the first person the kids see when they get out of their cars and enter our doors.  I have the ability to set the tone for the entire day.

But work got busy.  With testing season upon us, parents waiting in my office, forms I had to fill out, and so on, I got so busy that for about a week or so I choose to stop doing car duty to get some of the other things done.  I thought it wasn't that big of a deal, and that it wouldn't really matter too much.

I was wrong.

How do I know I was wrong?  Because two weeks ago, I started doing car duty faithfully every morning again.  And I realized something.  Greeting the students with a warm-hug or handshake and telling them I was so happy they made it today, didn't just start their day out on the right foot, it started my day out as well.  It reminded of me of WHY I'm in education.  For them.

Then last week, one student said something that solidified everything.  She said, "Mr. Nesloney, I love you doing car duty because even when my mom yells at me on the way to school I know that I will get here and that you will still hug me and tell me how happy you are to see me".


What had happened?  In the midst of all the little things, I had lost sight.  I'd lost sight of the most important part of my job; the kids.

As we near the final lap of this school year I encourage you to check your priorities.  Check your focus.  Have you also, like I did, allowed the little things to steal away your focus?

I promise you, when you turn all your focus back on the kids, it reignites a fire that keeps you going.

Don't forget about our kids.  Don't lose sight.