June 28, 2017 in School Culture

I’ve talked to countless educators this summer about the work they are doing to prepare for a new school year. Without exception, they all mention these four E’s in some form:

Essential content

Engaging lessons

Effective strategies

Efficient procedures

I can’t help but ask how they are cultivating the BIG E, the E that will impact their students the very first minute they walk into the classroom. I’m talking about ENERGY, the energy that educators bring into their classrooms and schools every day. This E will impact educators’ success and well-being as much as the success and well-being of their students.

You see, at any given moment, you can be an energy boost (cultivating positivity and passion that refreshes and renews others) or an energy drain (unloading negativity and angst, and literally sucking the life out of a room). You may not always be aware of the energy you bring, but others are constantly reading your signals. Your energy is communicated through your words, body language, and a host of nonverbal cues.

When Missy and I speak to groups of educators, we do an activity that illustrates the importance of energy. We first ask participants to move around the room greeting one another as if the people they meet are high school best friends who they haven’t seen in ten years. There is a palpable excitement in the room. Energy is communicated through exuberant greetings, smiles, handshakes and hugs. Next, we ask these same participants to move around the room greeting one another as if the people they meet are there to collect a parking ticket they haven’t paid in ten years. You can literally feel the energy drain from the room. There is little to no talking, eye contact or physical touch, a noticeable shift in energy.

My question to you is this: What kind of energy are bringing into your school and classroom every day? Are you greeting students and colleagues as if they are high school friends or ticket collectors? It matters so much to the success and well-being of everyone in the building (including you). That positive energy communicates that you care, value, and hold high expectations for your students and colleagues.

Be aware of your energy and find ways to shift it when needed. Be aware of how you greet others. Think about whether you are fully present or distracted by your mental to-do list. While you are preparing to be a more effective teacher and leader, don’t forget to focus on the BIG E.

How are you cultivating the energy to teach and lead as you prepare for the next school year?

Please know that I’m cheering you on- Julie


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