A year ago I wrote a post about the most used emoticons on my phone. As I continue to reflect on how my words and actions demonstrate my beliefs, I’m thinking about the phrases we use most often.
Read any mission statement and you will see some of the following:
- lifelong learning
- ALL students will achieve
- 21st Century skills
- college and career readiness
I recently began a new job where one of the leaders continue to remind us all to focus our goal statements on each student, to help clarify our work. She is very strategic in her use of the word “each”.
The role of a leader in a school system is pretty powerful. Each word you say is heard, repeated, revised, and shared in more iterations than you can imagine. It’s similar to being around a toddler finding their voice, parroting everything you say as they learn to create their own language. This makes it especially important for us, as leaders, to be aware of the phrases we use most often.
If we say things like, “those students” or “those teachers,” we are sending a message about out belief system.
If we say things like, “our students” or “our amazing teachers,” we are sending a different message.
Now it’s time to turn the mirror around for some self-reflection. The word cloud above was created from my blog’s URL- the bigger the word, the more often I have used it in my writing. I appreciate seeing reflections, students, coaching, learning, leadership, teacher, and strengths all stand out to me as I look at this cloud. Looking deeper I see time, idea, culture, Twitter, questions, and data.
As each word pops out to me, I take a moment to reflect.
What does that word say about my belief system?
Are these words, the words I use most often, representing what I say I believe?
At this moment in time, many of them do. One of the first blog posts I ever wrote here was called Learning, Coaching, and Leading. Those three words were an important part of my past, present, and future as an educator. They remain three important words in my vocabulary and in my vision. Reflection has become an important part of my work as a leader and I often turn to blogging for my personal reflection time. I’m glad that my written words used most often match my beliefs.
Now it’s time to pay attention to my spoken words.
What about your most used words and phrases?