I recently finished reading The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. There are many, many great lessons that I learned from my reading, and I have many ideas that I am beginning to (or have plans to) put into practice.
One idea in particular immediately struck me and it has stuck with me, and it is based upon a game that I have never played (and do not ever have plans to play)…Golf:
…after people play a round of golf they usually don’t think about all of the bad shots they made but rather always remember and focus on the one great shot they had that day. The thought and feeling they get when thinking about this shot makes them want to play again and again; this is why so many people get addicted to golf. (Gordon, 53).
This has excellent implications for real life outside of golf. Many of us, as we drift off to sleep at night, are reviewing our day in our heads. In those moments, we often replay in our minds the things that didn’t go well. In his book, Gordon suggests that we should apply the “one great shot theory” to our lives and think instead about the one thing that went really well in our day.
That one great call, meeting, or sale; the one great conversation or interaction; the one great success that will inspire them to look forward to more success tomorrow. This…will inspire people to get addicted to life (Gordon, 53-4).
After reading that section, I decided that I need to apply the “one great shot theory” to my own practice. So I set a reminder on my phone to go off each night at about the time I will be winding down and (hopefully!) heading to bed. It has been good, but not as intentional or productive as I would like. I feel like I can do better.
In addition, I have been thinking a lot about blogging. It’s something that I feel is valuable, yet I can’t quite seem to get myself to stick with it. I feel like it’s a fabulous tool for reflection, but I have just so struggled to figure out how to make this manageable and meaningful for me.
Tonight when my phone went off with my “One Great Shot” reminder, I had an idea. What if I blogged about about the one great shot of my day? Perhaps bringing the two together – reflecting on something good and blogging about it – will help make the reflection itself more intentional and productive.
My One Great Shot – 4.6.16
I oversee the ELL program for our school district (one of my many duties!). Over the past several years, this program has seen many changes – including several different coordinators (I’m the 4th in 9 years). In the two years that I have worked with the program, I have been (gently) pushing on my teachers to make changes. This has not been easy on them.
When I began working with the ELL program, one of my immediate goals was to begin adding staff in an effort to reduce the number of students on these teachers’ caseloads. In the almost 10 years I have been working in this department, our district has grown by thousands of students (LEP and non-LEP), but we had not increased the number of ELL staff. The idea of adding staff didn’t go over as heroically as I would have hoped. In fact, one of the teachers was worried that I was trying to get rid of her or “encourage” her into retirement – neither of these could have been further from the truth.
We were able to add an additional staff member for this year, and the teacher who was most worried has been empowered to share her expertise and mentor the new teacher whenever and however she can. While their instructional models are different (the veteran has students bussed to her building from across the district for a half-day pull-out program and the newer teacher travels between two buildings to provide pull-out and push-in as appropriate), they have worked well together and we have been able to make even more improvements to our program for our students.
I’m fortunate that I’ll be able to add yet another teacher to my ELL program in an effort to continue to reduce the size of teacher caseloads. This time, the veteran knows that I have no ulterior, evil motive – and that my purpose is to help her do the best she can to help our students. That leads me to my “one great shot” for today.
Today’s “One Great Shot”
The elementary ELL teacher who struggled with the idea of hiring additional staff last year came to meet with me today. She asked if we could discuss next year – and I was worried that she would again feel like I am doing something that would be threatening to her or her position. My goodness was I pleasantly surprised!
Not only does this teacher now embrace the idea of hiring additional staff and fully understand that my purpose is to help her help students, but she is now thinking about how we can arrange the staff in the district to help the one secondary ELL teacher (who hasn’t yet had any additional staff hired to help her – we’re taking the biggest baby steps we can here!).
My plan for this elementary ELL teacher was to keep her in a building where she felt happy and safe and to limit her travel as much as possible. Instead, she presented an idea that has her traveling to a different school every day of the week. Doing this would open up the schedule for the new hire to travel to the secondary level and provide additional support there. I was shocked and moved by her proposal – and so proud of her and her willingness to help her colleague!
For the past several weeks as I have been working with teachers and other adults, I have found myself reminding all of us that we need to be focusing on the needs of the students and not the needs of adults. My lovely ELL teacher completely embodied that thought today! I’m so proud to work with her!