The break was full of reminders for me. Reminders of the importance of family. Reminders about the need for balance. Reminders to laugh more. Reminders to be child-like without being childish. Two other reminders also came over the break.
First, blogger and connected educator, Joe Bower, passed away at the age of 37. Joe was passionate about how grades were destroying schools, and he took to his blog, including his last ever post on the 17th of December, to speak about this topic. For over two decades, I have worked on this topic, not because it was an easy one (changing grading systems is one of the hardest things to do in a school system), but because it is the right thing for kids. Joe's passing reminds me that we don't have time to wait to do the hard stuff. Each and ever one of us need to pick up the big rocks and push for the change that matters.
The other reminder came as I dug through my change in my car. This summer, an incredible teacher from the Waukegan School District, gave me a medallion from his ROTC program. It was a beautiful gift from Major Bell who had attended a training that I had facilitated. After that day, I was told by many that it wasn't something that he did often, and it left me honored to have received this gift. Every time I see the medallion, I'm reminded how easy it would have been for Major Bell, who is deep into his career and knows how to make his program work (it is one of the largest in the country), to push my training about technology integration to the side without thought. It is and was clear though that he was dedicated to being a model life-long learner for his colleagues and staff, and he wanted to find just the right nuggets that could make his work even better. Work each day to have a dedication like Major Bell.
2016 is here. Don't forget to tackle the hard stuff and always be searching for the best of the new to support the best of what you already do.