Last year I got caught up in the #oneword movement for 2015. During that time I set a goal to help empower others. In truth, I am not really sure what was my end goal. What does it really even mean to empower others, and even more so, how would I know if I was being successful?
I can point to several places where I felt successful in empowering others, but how do I personally judge if others have felt empowered by the messages I share, or the support I am giving? Looking back on 2015 I can reflect in knowing I have reached out to people in my district and many more beyond in an effort to help them take on new challenges. I helped a colleague advance his career, a friend take a new step in her teaching journey, and I am trying to be the best support possible for an amazing new teacher with whom I work.
I have also shared lots of ideas, pushed a friend to step into presenting (two of them actually) and given my own students more opportunities to experience the world than ever before.
So, I could look back on this and happily say, yes, I have done my part. But, I leave 2015 feeling unfulfilled. I feel like I have so much more to give to my friends, colleagues, and most importantly my students. There are so many people educators and so many kids that I see, I want to help empower them all. Instead I can take solace in a few success stories, though I am not sure my influence really was what made the difference for any of those individuals.
I leave 2015 not certain the impact I have had on others, but positive of the impact I have had on myself. This year has been filled with highs and lows (as usual) but also filled with exciting new learning opportunities for myself and all of the students I see each day. I published a children’s book, opened a Makerspace, wrote my first blog to be published by someone else (and second-see the “world” link above). My students have successfully engaged in engineering, steam projects, and coding. I have presented in several places, helped organize a new EdCamp, and I had a proposal excepted by ISTE2016! Yet, through all of those great accomplishments I still am left wondering, have I had the impact on others I hope to have achieved? I truly hope the answer is yes, but either way, I aspire to continue this mission in 2016. I will choose a new “one word” for 2016, but I will not cease in my effort to empower others around me to achieve their own greatness.