In January I began a deep dive in Elena Aguilar’s Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators and the accompanying workbook. I hope to share some of my reflections as I build daily habits to strength my own resilience and support that growth in others. Aguilar outlines a habit and a disposition for each month of the year. Follow along as I reflect on each month’s key ideas.
June’s habit is Know Yourself and the disposition is Purposefulness.
Aguilar was very purposefulness in starting Onward with June, as that is the end of the school year and a time to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. I love that she begins with the premise that you need to know yourself first. While this is my second reading of this book, this is an important reminder for me and how I’ve grown as an educator and a leader throughout my career. We often say we feel bad for the students in our first year of teaching, and I am no exception. I did the best I could for them at that time, but I would be a much different teacher for them today if I had the opportunity to relive that year. Not only am I a stronger educator, more confident in my content and pedagogical knowledge, but I am also more confident in myself. I know my own strengths and areas I’m actively trying to improve.
I wish my teaching program had dedicated more time to the work that Aguilar does throughout Onward – a focus on learning about ourselves to improve our resilience. As soon as I could articulate my own core values, I was a stronger educator and leader. Don’t we want our newest teachers to come into the profession ready to be as strong as possible?
Aguilar references a free Myers-Briggs personality test in this chapter. When I took it during my first reading, on 5/14/18, I was an ITFJ. This month, in June of 2019, I was an ISFJ. It’s interesting that I went from more Feeling to more Sensing, but that the rest stayed the same. My introversion will never change, but the others are a little more flexible, based on where I am in my life. I love to compare these results with people on my work teams, as it tells a lot about who you are and how you prefer to work.
A large part of knowing yourself is not only knowing your strengths, but your biases and how your experiences manifest themselves in how you lead. I love how Aguilar always connects her books to a focus on equity (and I can’t wait for her equity book to be published!) and culture proficiency. In this chapter, she also connects this to the work on vulnerability that Brene Brown is known for.
When you know yourself, you can define your purpose, your why. The disposition of purposefulness resonates with me so much. When you don’t know your purpose, or when your work is not aligned to your purpose, you often feel lost. The older I get, the clearer my purpose becomes, and I know that I’m doing the work I was meant to do. I hope you have that purposefulness as well.
Posts in the Building Resilience series: