Saturday, May 30, 2015

OLW - responsiveness ...the 6-month mark

I wrote the words below in BLACK as the 2015 year began, my first New Years Day of choosing a OLW. As I reflect on my ONE LITTLE WORD now, I celebrate that I STILL have 6 months to go (good thing!). 

I have focused on my responses to things. As I speak/react to students and colleagues, I now hear inside my head, a voice saying "Is this the best response?" 

I have NOT spent time actively learning about how to respond. But the year is only half-way over and the summer break is just 20 days, 4 hours, 41 minutes and 41 seconds away (YES, I have a count-down app on my phone!) My plan is to READ, READ, READ lots of Responsive Classroom literature. And my school is offering an August training that I will attend, too.

I chose this word because I was realizing I was bothered more and more by others. However, now I also realize that the amount of sleep and exercise and healthy foods I eat really are directly related to my reactions. So along with reading, I am also going to actively spend more time focusing on ME - my diet, my time spent moving my body, my stress level. When I am more relaxed, I find I am capable of reacting in a more calm manner.

I really do WANT to observe myself living more the below list of synonyms. I really do want to respond better to boy behavior, to colleagues suggesting a different ideas, to situations causing drama in my own life.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson reminds me that it really isn't OK to keep waiting to act kindly. So many missed opportunities slip by. Instead, I CAN respond with kindness, openness, acceptance. 

I WILL SHOW the 6 month mark and beyond.

Copied below is my January 1, 2015 blog post:

OLW - responsiveness

As the 2015 year begins, I want to focus on my response to things. I want to spend time actively learning how to better respond to:

~ 10 year old boys
~ colleagues, thoughtful, arrogant, and/or ignorant
~ the drama of school and family situations
~ the lack of kindness shown by strangers I pass during the day
~ anyone causing me angst

As this year ends, I realize more and more, I get very bothered by others. And I respond by either just walking away and not saying or doing anything OR by yelling (as in the case of 10 year old boys who do much to drive me crazy by Friday afternoon - yes, I am a 5th grade teacher). By keeping the word RESPONSIVENESS front and center, I hope to read more and observe more and try more about ways to respond to others.

One of the definitions of RESPONSIVE is related to machinery - "the ability of a machine or system to adjust quickly to suddenly alterned external conditions, as of speed, load, or temperature and to resume stable operation without undue delay." Synonyms listed include openness, acceptance, broad-minded, observance, receptiveness, tolerant, understanding, aware, kind-hearted, sensible, warm.

My goal of keeping RESPONSIVENESS as a focus is that my responses will be positive and that quickly I can adjust to resume operation without too much delay. Presently, I respond by being annoyed. I respond by thinking an hour later about what I could have said. I respond by turning inward and letting it go and maybe tolerating too much.

Professionally, I plan to read more about Responsive Classroom. I plan to reflect weekly on my own responses. I plan to also be accepting of the speed (whether slow or quick) of my growth.

I know this is an area I CAN be better at through practice and constant reflection. I openly accept RESPONSIVENESS as my OLW for the 2015 year.


  1. Sally,
    Are you living my life? So many of the things you mention are with me as well. My OLW is LISTEN. I think that was my RESPONSE to the need for being a better responder. It is hard, hard, hard. Especially when we feel overwhelmed underexercised and fueled with the wrong things! Here's to summer reading and refueling for responding.

  2. It sounds like you're doing a fine job with your OLW. It's not about perfection, it's about growth, and it sounds to me like you are definitely growing. I love your reflection about the importance of proper diet, sleep, nutrition, etc. And your connection to Each Kindness - so smart. Keep on keepin' on - you're doing great!