In response to a question posed by Mark Carbone, I have figured out what my word for 2015 is. I like the idea of choosing one word to focus on; something that makes me ask why I do what I do in my classroom, and professional practice.
Push. That's my word. This could be interpreted several ways; I don't mean the evil shove of a cold, steel hook as you stumble bound and gagged, heart thundering, terror-struck down a gangplank to circling sharks.
I want to pay closer attention to when I should push. When I find myself thinking "I've always done it like this" or "It worked fine last year..." that's the precise moment to consider a push in a new direction.
What stops me sometimes? Fear of failing in front of the students; looking incompetent in front of colleagues and peers, although I feel it less and less, the more I feel convinced that my new push is a good idea. Mark's word is 'model'. I can certainly model for students and colleagues that I'm trying something new; it may or may not work, but at least I tried something new. Sometimes the push is hard, when previous leaps got me nowhere, or weren't widely accepted as successful. It just takes that one real fire-cracker of an idea, with positive impact on everyone involved, that excites me to keep trying. It's like getting that one sincere, heartfelt note from a parent telling expressing great appreciation for what I do- regardless of what happens that day, I'm in a confident, happy place, and can handle just about anything.