Reading, reflecting, and researching ideas about teaching is something essential. I am always excited to share information to help educators teach and learn.

Recent surveys indicate that nearly 50% of educators are contemplating leaving the profession earlier than planned or within the next two years (GBAO Strategies, 2022; Merrimack College & EdWeek Research Center, 2022). In 2018, the annual PDK Poll found, for the first time in the 50-year history of the survey, that a majority of parents (54%) would not want their own children to become teachers (PDK International, 2018). In this year’s poll, only 37% of respondents said they would want their child to become a teacher (PDK International, 2022). Since 2010, teacher-preparation programs have seen, on average, declines in enrollment of more than 35% (Will, 2022). If these trends continue, teacher shortages will continue to increase, and learning will continue to be at risk.

The article from PDK shares the team-based model. It is full of some great information and reminds me of how my 5th-grade team of teachers worked together during my teaching days. We worked as a team to organize our strengths to focus on our specialty areas. I do believe it helped us with the students we served. We had around 100 students assigned to us.

Looking at a different approach to serving students and the way we approach teaching will help in curving those who are feeling they have no freedom in education and enhance learners by being with teachers who are teaching in the areas they are experts.

Approach

Helping to find different approaches to teaching and learning helps to continue to keep everyone engaged. Providing students with active involvement in their learning will continue to develop their learning growth.

“I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.” - Seth Godin

A circle is a round-shaped figure that has no corners or edges. Have you heard circle used in different ways? When you think about a circle, you visualize the shape in your mind. A circle is a perfectly round shape—meaning any point around its curve is the same distance from its central point. “She is not part of that circle of friends.” “It is so important to have a circle of trust.” “The circle of life is part of the Lion King.” Many examples of the use of a circle as more than just a shape, but symbolic in the meaning of the words attached. The vision in our head may show us the shape, but the words in a phrase bring to our heart a different feeling or emotion.

Have you ever felt left out? I know I have before. People begin talking about something that happened; they start laughing and sharing information. Then here I sat watching them like I was watching a television show instead of sitting with co-workers. Circles of friendships are formed at work and it is great. It is when exclusion from these groups becomes more and more, causing those sitting outside the ring to feel isolated. When the circle of friends crosses over to the circle of safety and trust at work, a sense of belonging and validation is missed by others.

Leaders need to be watchful of these situations and try to resolve them quickly. We absolutely cannot tell others what they do outside of the workplace, and we want everyone to have fun and enjoy work; it is when those areas cross over that we find issues. I will point out leaders, especially if this came from you and modeled. Everyone wants to feel good and to feel safe in their environment. Two Rule philosophy has taught us to look at those two questions. It is applied to every aspect of life and at every stage of life. Establishing a Circle of Safety to include everyone in your organization is essential. Do not leave anyone off the list. Every person in the organization is part of the Circle of Safety.

I started the blog today with a quote from Seth Godin. I started my blog because I was working on writing a book. I need to clarify my efforts in writing, my reasons, and my purpose.

My intentions have only been to help someone. Maybe you are the one I am writing for, and if it is you, I am glad it is. I look at the names of all of those who choose to follow me and the direct messages sent to me. We all come from many different places and have other interests and careers but share many of the same thoughts, troubles, and, at times, tears. I am thankful for a new follower, a like, and an occasional comment, and I am encouraged to write for another day. I hope we create a circle of daily solution friends who can inspire, ask questions, add sparks to life, and share thoughts, ideas, and solutions to make today better than yesterday. Thank you for being part of my circle Janet, Valerie, @DavidCoker, @vivomentor, @togetr4success, @parentingfamiliesdpapa, @thechristiantechnerd, and I have others I will highlight as I continue to appreciate you.

Anytime you want to publish with a big publishing company, they want to know you have established a group of people who would purchase the book you write. I never thought about that part of the process, and I still do not as much as I should. I first began writing the book after my car accident and change in my career as a healing process.

My blog posts are written to help individuals working to serve others. I come from the educational world; I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, so you will find those stories in my writing. I am a faith-based leader, you will also see spiritual, inspirational, and motivational pieces. When you combine all of those pieces, you get: to be the solution daily. Leaders are not those sitting in offices but those doing the work guiding others, shaping and discovering solutions daily with the help of others.

I hope you continue to follow, share, join us and be part of the Circle of Solutions family. We are happy you are here and welcome your thoughts. I left out an important fact about myself. I have always been a Disney fan! This blog post is not complete without ending with the Circle of Life! Enjoy each day we have!

When you think about feeling good and feeling safe, where do you see yourself? Where is the place those two things happen for you?

Now that you have the place, who is there to help you feel safe and good? Is it the place only, or is it a combination of the place and the people in the place as well?

One last thing, do you have a time you felt safe and good? Do you have all of the things pictured in your mind? I am hoping you will share with us your thoughts. What place, people, time, and anything else help make you feel safe and good?

As a teacher and an administrator, I heard children over my career talk about loving to come to school. As the years clicked by, those words faded, and changes occurred. More violence entered the communities, and schools began to experience more violent behaviors and then attacks at schools. Crisis and safety plans were developed to include “active shooter” training. We added school resource officers to our schools and security measures. If school was a place, teachers were the people, and the time was your childhood when you felt safe and good, then I am asking you to work with me to help make it possible for All of our children.

School begins soon for many on a balanced calendar schedule. The summer is coming to an end before we know it. However, the violence of the world continues, the division of the country remains, and only problems are being focused on with no real solutions with an action plan to address all of the issues.

My roots run deep in my passion for helping children, education, and those who serve to help others in this world we share. It is not you or me but all of us who can choose to be part of the solution in a world focused on problems. We begin with Two Rules and bring HOPEFUL (Helping Out People Everywhere For Unity and Longevity)strategies with action plans to improve together school, home, and community.

July-Countdown

I believe more than ever, your staff, students, families, and community want to know everyone is safe and feel good about being at school. How can you make this happen? We have some work to do and some steps to take to help lead our schools through this season. We begin with step 1 in Safety.

As the leader of your school, it is important to share now with the staff, families, and community your priority is for everyone to feel safe and good at school. It is also important to you to be HOPEFUL (Helping Out People Everywhere For Unity and Longevity); our children can feel this way everywhere they go.

Possible phrasing for communications. Maybe a Facebook post, Twitter, Newspaper, Newsletter, or multiple ways with consistent messaging.

I hope you will join us in choosing to be part of the solution daily as we make every environment safe for all of us. I only have Two Rules. Everyone who walks through the doors of (name of your school) will feel good and feel safe about being here. Before you say anything or do anything, ask yourself, is this going to make me or others feel good or safe. If the answer is no to either question, you should not choose to say or do. Choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The choice is yours to make. We will work together on a culture that builds on leadership, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and making decisions. Our children will be active in their learning plans as I believe Education is something we do with children, not to them. Children will share their strengths, weaknesses, and what they need help with as they continue to grow on their learning journey.

Student lead conferences are an essential part of the Two Rule philosophy. If you are not already doing this, do not worry, we will have some guidance for this as well.

I would appreciate it if you could share this blog with others who you know would be interested in education, leadership, and working together to help everyone feel good and safe at school. Thank you for being the solution daily!

Assumptions to Assurances

Over the past few years, our world has experienced uncertainty. We have been through a global pandemic leading us into a world of the unknown and many assumptions.

How can we turn our homes, workplaces, and communities from assumptions to assurances? What will it take for us to lead out of the crisis we continue to feel?

Looking Forward

Education has been a reflection of society's issues. Is there needs to help prepare our children as they travel through their educational journey?

What do we see as the needs our children should have as a foundation to continue to build on moving forward? We will explore solutions to the answers, ask additional questions, and share thoughts.

You asked the wrong questions!

As a teacher, have you ever heard, “You asked the wrong questions. I did not study for those questions.” When I moved into the position as Director of Educational Support Programs, I was charged with bringing in experts to help our staff with curriculum, instruction, and assessments. One of the experts for our math support made a remarkable statement one day. “We are working to create answer seekers, not answer getters.” We will explore this deeper as we examine the depth of teaching and learning.

What do we want to create in our learners? To seek to understand? To memorize and repeat? To create, innovate, and question? As we prepare students for the world before them, what do they need?

A little complaining?

Do you do a little complaining? How about those around you? What is the level of complaining in your corner of the world? I am just a little curious about how you are handling complaining. Does this interfere with the work being accomplished? What are we complaining about? Dumb question. I know we have a lot to complain about, but what can we control with our complaining? Do you have tips about those who complain every day? Asking for a friend.

Words, Winds, Whispers

Each day brings us many opportunities. We will find many words in our days. Some days, we will find the winds blowing. On others, we will hear the whispers. It depends on how we see, hear, feel and think. Do you have roots that run deep? Are you easily pulled from the garden to wither away? What will they day bring to you?

I am looking forward to a great week!

Getting Back to Center

Have you ever felt like you were off-balanced? A change happened in your life, and now things as you knew as “normal” are now the opposite. Oh, yes, the pandemic! The Covid-19 pandemic is one example. Can you think of more? Many things can impact us in positive and negative ways, which cause us to feel off-balanced and not centered; how do we handle it.

Word of the Day

I am a big believer in vocabulary! We do not spend enough time exploring, providing, and giving children time to explore “words.”

It could be because I come from a home where my parents did not know how to read. When I would go to school in my early years, I can remember my Kindergarten teacher saying, “I am sure your parents have read this story to you, but I am going to read it today again.” Nope, my parents had not, and I heard it for the first time. We forget many children do not have rich conversations or have exposure to reading materials or opportunities to visit other places. How can we help to improve their vocabulary for them?

Are you facing “Drainout”?

In our current situations, we have all faced many critical, unpredictable conditions not seen before. We have dealt with in our years of service overcoming what many have referred to as “burnout”, not motivated, exhausted, and leads me to what I believe is replacing all of these words in our workplaces today: “Drainout.”

Think about how you and your co-workers feel right now. How do you feel overall? “Drainout” is not something that happens just at work, it can happen in every aspect of life. We will discuss more this week.

Donuts, Veggies or Ice Cream? Choices

Do you hold meetings? If you do, do you provide a snack? When people walk into your meeting, do they find chocolates or candy on the tables? What do you think about offering food or something for meetings?

I am curious about this idea. I know I have, it seems, always had candy on the tables and offered snacks. During my career, I never used a line budget for my building expenses. I thought doing this was my choice, and I usually paid for it myself. Sometimes I had vendors who would send stuff, but mostly me or sometimes my Assistant Principal would get things.

Fast Forward-Future Skills Needed Today!

As we have witnessed in the past three years, leaders have shifted to rapidly respond, react and realign approaches to meet the needs of change. Change is not something new to leaders, but a change at this level of magnitude left leaders scrambling. We have not seen this level of change happen at his rapid domino pace.

What do we need from leaders based on the experiences from the past three years to prepare for our future? How can we be readily prepared for rapid changes? Can we give this some thought and reflect on what we have learned as we move forward?

I missed the bus is a phrase referring to being too slow to take advantage of an opportunity. In education, it was an excuse for being late to school, like the video attached to the word bus from 1992. Have you ever used that phrase?

Jumping on the bandwagon is another phrase used to join a movement or cause because it is trendy. “Everyone is doing it.” The phrase itself began back in 1848 when a circus clown named Dan Rice would use his wagon to take politicians around to conduct speeches to local people. The music coming from the wagon always attracted a crowd. Have you ever used this phrase?

These phrases may not be utilized as much today as they did in the past, but the concepts are still practiced. Leaders miss opportunities and jump on shiny new things when everyone else gets the popular item. Why do they do this? They are stretched thin and need to find quick results in a fast pace world. Many pressures are placed on our leaders to perform, meet the standards, and be better than all competitors.

As the leader of your organization, you have a great deal of responsibility. There is no more significant responsibility than taking care of those you serve. All of your team members need to know your vision, but most importantly, they need to know they can trust you. A solid foundation builds a team that knows who they are, what they are doing, and where. Our vision is our dream. What we want to achieve in the work we do is the culture created.

The culture of your environment is critical. The vision you have can be incredible, but a toxic environment can destroy it before you begin to build. Culture is how we work each day to move us forward to our vision. In our culture, this is where the actual work is done to make the vision clear for all to see.

What can you do as a leader? Let’s ask hard questions, design plans, and develop habits, processes, and purpose together. Which is more important to have a vision or a positive culture?

Vision and Culture-Both are needed

VISION

A vision is a cornerstone of the organization. It is a statement of what an organization would like to achieve in the future but is more than a goal. A vision inspires and connects employees to purpose. As leaders, we need to work together to develop a vision statement with clarity in decision making, help guide others, and make it part of our daily work. Today's vision statements need to reflect the changes as we lead out of crisis and into the building.

CULTURE

Our culture is designed by what inspires us daily. It is our interactions together in working to achieve the vision, mission, and purpose. The core beliefs, values, and behaviors of the individuals within the organization reflect the culture. For a continuous improvement cycle to be in place, culture and vision are connected to gain purpose.

Everyone in our organization has to be all in on the vision we have and be actively participating in a positive culture to achieve the momentum needed to grow. Just like putting a puzzle together, when one piece is missing, it can not be completed. When you have one individual bringing negativity to the group and fighting against the group's beliefs, pieces begin to pull apart.

Start your Phrase……

Jon Gordon has the Energy Bus. What can be yours? Do you need one to begin to develop what you need to lead out of a crisis and into building back the foundation for the vision and culture required to succeed? Be the Solution Daily in a world that needs you! No need for catchy phrases, just a solid foundation with core beliefs, a vision , and a design of how to get there. It is fun to think of names, phrases, and crazy ways to remember things. However, the importance of the work is what the focus needs to be on. It cannot be like it was, and we must decide what works now.

With the transitions to Covid from Covid and now additional issues facing us, we need to outline the needs in all areas to focus on our realities.

Fitting the puzzle pieces together

Now that we are looking at our needs, it is time to complete a deeper dive into a needs assessment. This is the best place to start when beginning to look at building a foundation for continued growth.

Just a basic format to begin to gather data on needs. Deeper dives as you go into specific areas, skills, departments, policies and procedures.

Can we work together to ask hard questions? Can we listen to all voices? I would like to have honest conversations about what we are facing. This isn't easy because we will not all agree. Doing what is right is not what is easy; jumping on the bandwagon or missng the bus. It is in having the integrity of doing what is best for all of those involved and those we serve. Ken Blanchard, one of my favorite leaders, found that integrity is what everyone seeks out in leadership. Jon Gordon, another famous leader, has a fantastic book just released called The Sale along with his co-author Alex Demczak which is a tremendous tribute to learning about integrity. Please get your copy today. If you think you deserve to have a free copy from me, tell me what you gain from reading these blogs and how you share it with others. Please send me an email after you like the post at yohobren@gmail.com. Thanks for sharing time and space with me daily.

When do you become a leader? Is it when you finally get that top spot or the title you have been dreaming of? Think about the leaders you know; what titles do they have? What characteristics do they have? The best questions are:

In our world today, we need great leadership. I have always said, “ Leadership is not a title, a position, or a picture of a person you can describe. It is a heart, purpose, calling, and desire to serve others as you model leadership.”

Where are you today?

Where do you want to be in five years?

What are you doing to help yourself move in the direction you plan to go?

I recommend the book Simple Truths of Leadership, 52 Ways to be a Servant Leader and Build Trust by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. This book will provide you with the best way to continue to grow, build capacity within your team, help engage as a coach or mentor. The book's setup offers a weekly Simple Truth to follow. The big topics are identified, discussion guide at the back of the book to correlate with the #number you select. You can start anywhere you want! I love this book! I am biased a little because I have followed Ken Blanchard throughout my career! I continue to learn from his leadership.

I bought an extra copy to share with someone else! Who has the best story to share of why they need to have my extra copy? Please pick up a copy or two, share, start a book study! I will be happy to help you through Zoom! We need you! I am happy to serve in helping you grow! We are the solution daily as we work together in a world that needs all of you!

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

Creativity brings value to life. You can see, hear, feel and explore all elements. Through your imagination, you can expand on what everyone experiences to enhance with new thoughts. As a thinker and “tinker,” your intelligence leads you to fun, innovative ideas and attracts others to join in the fun! The essential part of creativity is seeing more solutions than problems, which is my style!

I have so many people I admire, am blessed to know, and experience- good, challenging, trauma-filled, one-of-a-kind times and opportunities to fill my heart, soul, and mind! This wealth of knowledge, information, and experience will fill these pages to bring all of this to you!

Maya Angelou was always one of my favorites! She passed away from this life, but her voice and messages live on as long as others cherish her work to share with others. History can be filled with many things, events, trauma and challenges. However, I never want to lose any of it as we gain so much from it. How to overcome, unite, strategize, innovate and create!

Creativity generates or recognizes ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems. It formulates ways of communicating with others. It helps to find ways of entertaining ourselves and others. We think of creativity in writing, art, music, acting, dance, and all art forms.

Being part of the solution is creative! It is an art form! You will be thinking in many ways to find the right solution for the problem. One of my all-time favorite clips of Maya Angelou is in the link shared below. She provides you with the Top 10 Rules:

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play-sharp-fill

Expanding creativity in your home, school, organization and life; will enhance unlimited possibilities and offer solutions!

There are many great men and women in our history we can celebrate, learn from, respect and model our actions. This week we began with a man famous for his speech, “I have a dream.” Dr. Martin Luther King not only had a dream he believed in, but he also believed in what could be achieved if we dared to do what he perfectly stated!

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

“I have a dream today . . .
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning. “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside. Let freedom ring . . .
When we allow freedom to ring—when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, and white men, Jews, and Gentiles, Protestants, and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.”
Reprinted by arrangement with The Heirs to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr., c/o Writers House as the proprietor New York, NY. Copyright: © 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. © renewed 1991, Coretta Scott King.

Also in our history are individuals or groups that made horrible mistakes, took steps, believed in things, and did things they achieved we do not find acceptable. We learned from those as well. It is essential to talk about all of them and build from the learning we discover, not divide, hide or devalue anyone as we move forward. I am thankful for all historians who have and continue to document for us these pieces, which are so valuable. If you have not explored museums, read some of these fantastic books, or speak to individuals who have experienced first-hand some of the historical events, don't wait. I have been blessed to talk with military veterans Holocaust survivors and visit several museums.

Dream, Believe, Dare and Do is the business practice utilized by Disney. I incorporated this mindset in my approach to serving students in education. Walt Disney was a master at creating environments full of happiness, love, fun, and excitement. He was a servant leader, I believe.

Students in our care need to have dreams! Our staff does as well! The schoolhouse should be a place full of opportunities. Our beliefs in ourselves and each other push us to achieve! When we dare to take risks, think outside the box, and do the work, we find success.

I plan for all to believe; Two Rules can achieve great success for all who dare to do the work to implement the philosophy in their lives. Keep connecting, reading, and thinking! #Bethesolutiondaily

Being a leader in 2022 is the same, different, or we don't know? Do the qualities and skills need to be the same? What are your thoughts? Do we need different leadership qualities? What is the most important quality for a leader? Why?

I believe a job title does not define leadership. Leadership is part of our lives at different stages and areas. We provide opportunities for children to explore, experience, and engage in leadership. We have many lists of characteristics and qualities created over many decades to identify excellent leaders. Has leadership changed? Do the qualities change? How can we help children grow to become great leaders?

We need your help! Tell us what qualities do great leaders need.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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