Know Your Intention – Then Live It

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If you want to experience significant progress towards your goal, you need to be intentional about the work you’re doing every day.

We started out this year with what we call a work week. School is closed and spend each day exploring various aspects of our upcoming year as well as our over reaching goals as a school. This year we are implementing an umbrella project about The Charles River  – which is next to our school  – so spent a fair amount of time not only talking about what an umbrella project is, but exploring the actual river itself. We talked about how to welcome trans-gendered families into our classrooms – which led me to face the reality of my own lack of knowledge on how I can be an ally. We also created a classroom intention with our co-teachers.

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I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me. – Tracee Ellis Ross

This is my second time having a “work week” and I am realizing now more than ever before the value in doing so. I was able to not only put my intentions down onto paper, but to talk about ways to make those intentions a reality. I could think about ways to change my language surrounding gender to be more inclusive – I could think about ways to involve families in our Charles River Project – I could rearrange our classroom to reflect the values my co-teachers and I share. We were able to take our more abstract wishes for the classroom, and turn them into something tangible.

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This is my sixth year of teaching, and the first year I have felt at ease before the first day of school. There are many factors that play into that – it is the same classroom as I was in last year, which has never happened before, which means I already know what works and what doesn’t in this space. I have co-teachers I have worked with before that I know I work well with.

But above all else, I think it is knowing I have concrete ways to really live my intention that is making this year feel like it will be magnificent.

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It is one thing to value independence, risk taking, exploration of nature, following a child’s interests, family involvement…and it is an entirely different thing to live it.

I hope to stay accountable to myself and my intentions. Am I living what I say I value? I wonder if having this physical, concrete visual in our classroom will help me stay accountable with myself.

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I suggest taking time to decompress. Take a breathe. Then think about your intentions and how you plan to implement them. From the tiny details to the big ideas – what do you hope to accomplish this year?

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2 thoughts on “Know Your Intention – Then Live It

  1. Inspiring words. However, I wonder if specifically trying to find ways to include families because of being transgender is not in itself a bias. If you are looking at complete inclusion, I would hope you would think individually about each family to see if they need anything to feel more included. Perhaps the transgender family feels very welcome, but a 6 1/2″, 300# person feels uncomfortable or the 6 toed adult who walks with a limp or the person who wears nothing but rain boots for foot wear… Who knows how to be inclusive until you meet someone who does not feel welcome? How do you solve a problem until a problem presents itself?

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    1. I think that while it is true – we should find a way to make sure every family feels welcome, transgender individuals are unfortunately a highly oppressed group of people, and are not often welcome in many places, including schools. In a world were parents are revolting teaching their children that tran-gendered people even EXIST I think it is important to set time aside to think about how I can make sure I am being welcoming to parents and children that are trans-gender, non-binary, etc. I do not know the specifics of how to welcome each and every person until we meet, you are correct. I can however know what small alterations to my approach I can make to help people feel like they are welcome, such as introducing myself using my pronouns. It is up to us to inform ourselves on ways to welcome marginalized groups, so that they do not feel the need to explain their marginalization to us each and every year their child is in school. It is also important for me to learn about something that because of my privilege, I would never know otherwise. I now know that the language I use with children regarding body autonomy could teach them incorrect facts that perpetuate the falsehoods most adults have regarding gender. Such as saying to a child that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, a statement I have made many times when a child is asking me questions about this topic. Simply adding a “most” in front of boys or girls can make that statement more inclusive.

      “How do you solve a problem until a problem presents itself?” I think that we are all well aware of what problems we are currently facing when it comes to many marginalized groups, and talking about what we can do before it actually comes up in our classroom, is the first step we have to take. Before we go on walks we talk as a team about language we plan on using if we see homeless people, which we often do living in a city.

      I can’t plan for everything, but for what I can plan for, I think I should plan for.

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