Jennie Magiera Keynote
Tuesday morning’s keynote can be described in one word… “Epic-Emotional-Awesomeness.” (I know, that is more than one word, but the hyphens makes it one word still, right??) This should not be any surprise because the speaker was Jennie Magiera (@MsMagiera). While her resume is impressive, her ability to share a story that captives and resonates moved the crowd into action.
Tell the untold story of your school, educators, and most importantly the students. All of us are more than a single story, and it is our job as educators to help students to see their unlimited potential that the student (or educator for that matter) may have allowed to be stymied by their fear of their TOLD story. We must help students to see they can overcome that TOLD story in order find their UNTOLD story!
Opportunities For A New Identity
Jenny recounted the story of her mother’s experience as a young child (having been an immigrant from Korea), and the powerful, life-changing question her teacher asked her, “what do you want to be called this year?” As students enter our classroom each year, they carry baggage of past experiences and choices, many of those negative. Yet, we must provide (and encourage) students to understand those past decisions do not have to continue defining them.
So what if you were a failing student in the past, or a someone with a checkered past? You can choose differently today, and I’m here to be your support.
Stop And Listen
When facing resistance, anger, etc. from parents, colleagues, or others it is important to find out the reasoning for their anger. As humans, we constantly find ourselves looking to get our agenda or desires advanced without regard for others. So when we face frustration from others, we generally ignore or push away those individuals in order to complete our goals. Yet, as stated by Magiera, if we would stop and LISTEN to those complaints and frustrations, we provide an outlet. Not only do we find out the true issues, we also learn more about those individuals.
Through this exercise of listening, we build bridges that can empower others to greater heights and soften their resistance to our ideas. While they (or we) may not get their way, it creates an environment of compromise and collaboration that seeks to meet everyone’s needs.
Many, if not most, of us got into education due to the positive experience of a past teacher of ours. This drives us to be that same influence to our future students. While this is noble and a worthwhile ambition, it also inhibits our ability to be awesome. I could provide multiple teachers who helped define the educator I am today, however, Jennie reminded us that it is imperative that we should be the best version of ourselves. “Who Am I As An Educator?”
Do not try to be a carbon copy of your past teachers, except in terms of positively impacting students. Instead, be the Mr.-Mrs.-Ms.-Coach ________ that you are called to be.
Who We Are
Finally Jennie acknowledged a truth that many educators live by but rarely recognize. We as professionals, have wrapped our identity into our profession. Every success and heartbreak of our students drives us to new heights, both in school and post-graduation. We can not help but talk about the things happening in our classrooms, the new ideas we are excited about trying out, and the success of our students and schools.
What about Jennie’s keynote spoke the most to you and your current journey? What are you going to do differently due to this message? How are you going to tell the untold stories before you in the coming year?