Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
The phrase “for auld lang syne” basically means “for (the sake of) auld times”. The song originated as a Scottish poem in 1788 by Robert Burns, who penned the words he heard from an older gentleman. Though it was never meant to be a song, the thought or mindset is that we should preserve and hold dear those things we have experienced, especially friendships. As the year comes to a close, we recall past joys and sorrows shared in the company of family, friends and coworkers as well as the diamonds and stones of our work or careers throughout the year.
How does this relate to DEEL? We are a team of people who love education and educators. For me, DEEL and those associated with it are the acquaintances that come to mind when I hear the song. As I reflect on the friendships we have built with each other and the wonderful teacher leaders I have met throughout the year, I am certain that these acquaintances should not be forgotten. We have shared some awesome experiences with educators throughout Pitt County. So as this year comes to a close, I am thankful for the blessing of working with such wonderful people.
A few of our experiences involved learning about working with people through a 360 degree competency feedback survey, Advanced Cognitive Coaching, Advanced Adaptive Schools, and Data Driven Dialogue. Along with senior staff members we learned about Situational Leadership. It was powerful gaining an understanding that sometimes when we do not get what we expect from those we lead, it is a direct result of our own leadership style. In other words, it’s not personal and we have to take some ownership as leaders. Using the right language can have a tremendous effect on what we get as a result of our leading.
Our last training for the year was on High Impact Presentations by Dale Carnegie. We presented while pretending to be giraffes, cheerleaders, waitresses, drill sergeants, and so much more. There was yelling, whispering, hand motions, and eyes blink all to make sure we connected with the presentation. The idea was for us to gain presentation fundamentals by getting out of our comfort zone and implementing things that would help us be more effective. It was not so much about content as it was making sure we know when to share information in a way that can either convince or impress. As a presenter, we have the opportunity to persuade or inspire others into action. We must always keep these things in mind so our message is relevant to our audience.
With laughter and joy, we have travelled from Greensboro, NC to Washington, NC with stops in Winterville and Greenville. For some, training lead them to Minnesota to learn more about co-teaching to prepare for multi-classroom teacher positions. Riding in the car together caused us to collaborate and paraphrase. Oh yeah then we paused and paraphrased some more before posing a question. Our skills of coaching were very honed as we practice with each other.
I have enjoyed being in the presences of Teacher Leadership Institute participants, Facilitating Teachers, and Career Path Specialists. I have also met Key Beginning Teachers who have renewed my energy and reminded me to keep the passion in my work. The year has been full of challenges and sharp learning curves. The good news is that we survived, even if we hit the curb a time or two. We have experiences and takeaways from our learning that we will hold on to not just in the year ahead but as we progress into the future.
I invite you to reflect on the success of the year and build a bright future full of expressions that show your power as an educator. Yes, sometimes the work may feel like a thankless attempt that means nothing. But I encourage you to hold on to the joy of making a difference in the lives of those who may not have any other advocate but you. Our mission should be to educate the whole child, not just teach math, science, reading, etc…. This goes beyond textbooks. If we can teach a child to find an answer that Google doesn’t give them then we are sustaining our mission as educators.
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
We do not forget anyone who impacts the lives of our students. From the bus drivers who pick them up, to the cafeteria workers who give them nutrition before we even see them, we are all the educational family of Pitt County Schools. Our acquaintances also include the custodians who help to make sure we have a safe and clean environment to both teach and learn. All of our trainings would be fruitless without everyone participating and giving students what they need.
So as this year ends, I ask that you join me in reflecting on the encounters of 2017 and prepare for 2018 with the excitement of a new beginning. Continue to inspire, dream, and face unafraid the plans you’ve made to make the year great! Remember:
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! and give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.