All posts by Toby Fischer

Building Sandcastles

Last week I was on the beach enjoying an afternoon with the family, building an awesome sandcastle village. Great teamwork was happening. I was building the main castle while my daughter built the huts crabs would stay in. Then suddenly a wave come crashing in and threatens the front of the village. We hunkered down and built a deeper moat around the village, but eventually the waves did their work and eroded the front of our creation. As always, by the next morning there were no signs the masterpiece ever existed.

Do you ever feel like this in education? We work hard to build something, then the new tide comes in and knocks it down? In my 19 years in education I have seen an evolution, but not at the pace it should be. So, what do we do to stop knocking down our own walls?

I don’t have the answers, but I know as a leader I am going to change my perspective. Are the castles we build gone just because the new initiative has a different name? We have to stop worrying about names and acronyms and seek to make connections between the old and the new. In Professional Capitol, Hargraves and Fullen talk about blending the best of the old with taking risks and implementing new ideas.

By changing the way we look at our sandcastles we can enjoy the beauty of what we are building in the moment and look forward to tomorrow where we will get the opportunity to build a better one using the experience we gained from the last. The new sandcastle will be even better if we take the time to reflect upon our process and visualize the  creation we are going to make with our fresh palette.

One Word 2016: Mend

One WordIn January I heard of this new trend of replacing resolutions called One Word. I grabbed the book and read it the next day. I printed the sheets that help you figure your word, and then….nothing. My word didn’t come to me. Like our resolutions we normally set in January, I let the creation of my word slip away.

On Easter Sunday we went to church for the first time in quite a while. The sermon was to the theme of broken. An awesome visual was used to illustrate how something that is broken may never be what is was exactly in the past, but it can be used to create something beautiful if put in the hands of a craftsman. Simple concept, we are all broken and Jesus is here to help us fix things. That evening my word came to me.

Mend
Definition: repair (something that is broken or damaged).

There are lots of pieces in my life that are “broken.” I am going to dedicate this year to the process of mending those things. I will expound on how in the coming weeks and months through my reflections on here. For now, wish me luck and for any of those of you who are part of my life, thank you in advance for your part in the process.

I’m Unhappy and Tired

The last three weeks at school have drug me down. I feel like I am spinning my wheels dealing with drama and situations that do not impact the learning happening in the school. This is frustrating. I went into administration to support great teacher trying to do great things. I know discipline is part of this support, but (ah, there is that magic word).

I fell into the trap. I fell into the downward spiral of the “yeah but” trail that leads to nowhere positive. So now it is time to reflect on why I am truly in the spot I am? Where do I want to be? What are the steps I can take to bridge the gap between the two places?

I am unhappy. Not unhappy with where I work or what I do, I am unhappy with myself for letting myself get into the “yeah but” mindset I hate. I am tired of not being the leader and instigator of positive change I walked into this role planning to be. Right now is the moment that changes. I am kicking my “but” and getting a better attitude starting right now. How many of you feel the same way? What do you do to “kick your buts?”

A Lost Balloon: a story of finding the positive.

Imagine it is your closest loved one’s birthday and you are on the way to their workplace to surprise them with a gift. Part of the gift is a beautiful large helium happy birthday balloon you just bought at the store. As you get out of the car, the string to the balloon breaks and the balloon takes off into the sky. Within a minutes time, the balloon is just a dot of color in the middle of a white puffy cloud on the horizon.

What if you were an eight year old girl and this happened to you as you took the balloon to your mama at work? How would you react? Last night this happened to my daughter Chy. As the shock of the moment set in, I looked in her eyes and feared a fathers worst moments, tears in his little girls eyes. While sadness and a bit of confusion of how to fix her dilemma of not having the balloon to present her mama set in, to my shock the tears stayed away. As we  talked about the event, I asked Chy, “where do you think the balloon will end up?” Without a delay she answered with a smile, “Sawyer (our pet rabbit who passed away a few months ago) is playing with it in heaven.”

Today I reflect on that moment asking myself, can we all find the positive in moments like this? Everyday we have small events like the lost balloon. How do you react to them? You cannot change the event, so do you seek out the positive that can from it?

 

Riding the Wave

As we sit on the beach for our family vacation watching my daughter ride the waves on her boogie board, the term “riding the wave out” keeps coming into my head. I have often heard veteran educators say this phrase. They have seen so much happen in their career, they have created the habit of just riding the wave out. Over the last twenty  years politicians have taken more and more control away from the educators when it comes to how we run schools. Is it because we continually ride waves out? It is time for us to stop riding waves out and ride crashing into the waves. Many constraints have been placed upon us, but constraints are just the soft walls around our creative space. All creative spaces have constraints. Lets hop on our boards and ride crashing into the waves. We may fall off our boards a few times in the process, but in the end we will have taken back the ocean of education.

A new beginning

Just GoFor the second time in my sporadic blogging efforts I have switched URL’s. This switch was to remind me to stop making excuses and just get on here and write. I have a ton of ideas and I always wait and wait till they are ready (which they never are) and I never write about them. This site is going to be just raw ideas and thoughts. Short and sweet. I am not worrying about perfect writing structure, just content. To kick the site off I am once again going to attempt 30 days of writing. One post a day for the next 30 days. Time to start kicking the buts out and being doing!

What I Looked at This Week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

What I Looked at This Week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

What I Looked at This Week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.