Gratitude is defined as noun: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
As I ended my last school year, I had many mixed emotions. I was frustrated at several different situations. Opportunities that I felt I was overlooked for; not being able to return to where I spent 4 years; and not knowing where my next adventure was going to take me. I felt that maybe I wasn’t good enough. I felt that maybe I should look into different aspects of education. One thing I did not feel was gratitude. Yes, I had gratitude for the students I was able to have as part of my life. I had gratitude for the families that supported me during my transition out of my previous school and the opportunities that I was not given. I had so much gratitude for my family that gave me unending support and care during the time that I was unsure of what the future held for me. I did not have gratitude for the lessons that I was being provided. I did not see them with a grateful heart, but rather with resentment and animosity. As I reflect back on this time, I realize that I took the wrong road. I need to show the gratitude in times of difficulty.
My #OneWord2020 is gratitude. I cannot go through my career not having gratitude. I need to be grateful for everything that makes me become better for my students, family, and myself. I too often take these things for granted. That’s my fault. It’s my fault for not appreciating the opportunities that make me a stronger and more focused educator.
I’m going to start showing my gratitude now:
- My best friend/wife: Where would I be without her? She is the most supportive and amazing person I know. She knows when I have rough days and she knows when I’m excited to share my amazing stories. She is there for me when I need her the most and she is ready to listen when I need it. I can’t thank her enough and I am so grateful for her.
- My family: They know how to cheer me up and listen to me when I need someone to be there. My nephews are so important to me and I can’t show my gratitude enough for how their silliness and stories make me forget about the stresses of work and life. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law are more than what a person could ask for. They support my work through ideas and donating to the various charitable drives my school has. They go above and beyond for me.
- My PLF (Professional Learning Family): This past November I attended the Teach Better Conference and this is where I changed my focus on what a PLF can be. My gratitude for the Teach Better Team is immeasurable. When I say team, I’m including the Team, speakers, and the “family” that I formed during the 2 days that I was there. They motivated me, refreshed my passion for teaching, recharged my energy to be BETTER, and accelerated my desire to accomplish some goals that I have set for myself. I was able to connect with educators that truly want me to become BETTER! It was what I needed. Yet, even before Teach Better I had a PLN that was there when I needed. They supported me, yet I did not show my gratitude back! I need to do that more! Thank you to everyone who has supported my educational career!
- The families I’ve worked with: Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your child’s education. I am so grateful for your trust and generosity. I know that if I asked for anything that it would have been provided for me. Your support of me and your child was probably often overlooked and I did not show my gratitude. I am so grateful to be in such great communities that value the importance of education, and especially Catholic education!
- My students: WOW! Where would I be without them? They are the reason I do what I do! I need to show my gratitude for them even more. I just hope that they see how grateful I am when I attend their events (athletics, drama, concerts). My students make me better and I need to let them know that. My gratitude for them is beyond measure. Each student makes me who I am. They bring a new joy for teaching each day. When they share their stories, I need to show my gratitude for them sharing their voice. I cannot limit their growth. I need to let them see my gratitude for being who they are!
Each day is an opportunity for me to show my gratitude. As I have stated, I did not show gratitude for those difficult moments last year. Yet, these are the moments where my gratitude needs to be shown the most. I need to use these lessons to increase my gratitude for those that make me stronger. I also need to appreciate the difficulties. Be grateful for those things that I don’t receive because perhaps I need to see them as opportunities for growth.
When I was overlooked for several positions last year, I felt I wasn’t good enough. I felt that I wasn’t ever going to become anything in education. While that is what I felt, I needed to step back and be thankful that I wasn’t given a position that I was not ready for yet.
Now that I am where I am, my gratitude for this community is tremendous. They have taken me in and allowed me to be who I am as an educator. They have embraced my style and allowed me to grow. For this, I am so grateful. I have also been able to see more growth in future endeavors because of connections that I have made.
Gratitude…it’s what I need to strengthen. I need to show it. I need to embrace it. I need to be it. I cannot allow myself to take life for granted. I cannot resent being overlooked. I need to show gratitude for those that keep pushing me to be better!
As 2020 moves forward, my gratitude for all of you is beyond words. Thank you! Thank you for all you do for me!