Rhythms that Spark Passion Pt. 2

“Goals are about the result you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead you to those results…Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits

In my last post, I started to lay out some of the micro-habit shifts I wanted to make in 2020. I started to look at my systems and processes that I already had in place decided where I wanted to make changes. I’m hoping that this post will help you reflect on some habits and routines that you would like to change in 2020.

Support Others

One of the exciting parts about my new teaching role this year is learning how to support teachers as they instruct newcomers and ELL students in mainstream classes. It forces me to ask the question, “What is going to be helpful to teachers most teachers in my school? Where are the areas of need?” These aren’t always an easy questions to answer because the needs of the teachers are so diverse. However, in 2020 I’ve started some routines that I hope will be effective.

Every week one of the clerks asks the teachers for submissions to the Weekly Forecast. The Weekly Forcast is an internal school newsletter that is currulated to all of the teachers. Lately, I’ve submitted a Forecast blurb that gives a little tip or suggestion for addressing challenges in the classroom. It’s not a big newsletter but I hope it will be an effective way support many teachers on staff at our high school.

Perhaps you don’t support teachers in the same way I do, but sure many of you are in mentoring relationships and need to put in place routines to support others. How are you going to do this more effectively in 2020?

Write in Between the Cracks

2019 wasn’t a great blogging year and, as a result, it wasn’t an effective year for improving my writing abilities. It seems like I always have a goal to write more consistently every year but hope this year will be different due to Jame Clear’s popular book Atomic Habits.

I haven’t made it through the whole book but, so far, its even better than Good Read’s book reviews have claimed. What’s going to be different this year you ask? Two words–habit stacking. Clear explains process of habit stacking in a few different steps. First, he asks the reader to identify a current habit that is deeply imbedded in their routines already. Second, simply stack a new habit on top of it. In other word, you use the well-formed habit as a cue for the next habit.

One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking. Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

One of my steady habits is to show up early for school, grab a coffee and go over my lesson plans for the day. After I complete this, I’m planning to type at least one paragraph on a blog post. I usually don’t tonnes of time during this part of the day, but I think I can carve out ten minutes to type a paragraph.

This is a very strategic writing period in my day because I tend brainstorm during my commute. When I arrive at school, my brain has typically brewed some thoughts that I could write down. The only downside of this time is that other teachers are arriving at school and I may be constantly interupted.

If this routine isn’t working I’m going to stack the writing habit on top of my well-formed habit of reading in the mornings. I’ll shorten my reading for the morning and take 10-20 minutes to write.

Build Community

Relationships happen at different levels. Some people get to know you one-on-one, others know you as part of a small group–like a soccer team or club. Others know you as a person in the same neighbourhood or country. In 2020, I want to do a better job of making use of small spaces in my day to build connection with my school and community.

This year I took a new job, working in at a high school in Surrey. One of things I appreciate about the school is the solid core of veteran teachers that hold it together. Everyone at the school has been very helpful and welcoming. One of the ways that relationships between teachers are fostered in our school is through a mentorship meetings for coffee every Friday morning. It is amazing how a marvellous mentor leader, a pot of coffee and a few timbits can help build a sense of unity and togetherness between teachers.

In 2020, want to continue building a few deep relationships but also making sure than I show up for gatherings where I can network with others and make contacts. During the last six months at my school, I have parked in different places, entered the school through different doors and ate lunch at different meeting areas and it is amazing how many different teachers I’ve got to know through being at the right place at the right time.

I want to continue to build a network of support and inquiry in 2020 in my school but I also want to take advantage of the many leadership workshops offered by the Surrey district so that I can connect with other teachers outside the school too.

I also want to continue building connections with teachers in other districts and other parts world through Twitter and self-directed professional development opportunities because each of these connections, no matter how small, represents another opportunity to learn from and invest in others

Your Habit Changes in 2020

What routines and habits do you want to shift in 2020? How will you shift them? Where will you slot them into your schedule? Even a one percent shift makes a difference over the long term–as James Clear constantly reminds us in Atomic Habits. I recommend Clear’s book and you might also be inspired by the newsletters available in the sign up link on his website.

I always enjoy reading the reflections of other bloggers. If you make a similar post, please link it in a comment for me.

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