a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm A Big YOU Fan


Recently, Linda Baie posted on her blog TeacherDance about her one little word for this year: comfort.  Specifically, she posted a Tagxedo about the things that bring us comfort in the classroom. 

My one little word for 2012 is “nudge.”  I chose this word because this year I want to focus on nudging others and responding to nudges as well. Linda’s post was one of those posts that caused me to feel nudged (Linda is awesome like that).

Because the teacher morale on my team has been at an all time low, because I have been dreading team meetings this year more than ever (and NOT because I don’t love my team; I do; I really do—because of what we are up against), because I am not the type of person who can just complain endlessly without taking action towards a solution, because Linda was pointing out a simple idea for change, I HAD to do something.

So, with Linda’s Tagxedo as my inspiration, I made thank you notes for the members of my team.  I have a Hero Arts rubber stamp kit of retro-style stamps.  So, I made cards with typewriters that said, “You’re the type of teacher all kids deserve.” Those teachers who had just received an insulting “satisfactory” rating on their evaluations, got cards with a camera that said, “When I picture an excellent teacher, I picture you, ” or cards with a telephone that said, “I would call you excellent if I were evaluating you.”  I also made cards with the telephone that said, “Teaching is definitely your calling,” and “I always know I can call on you for help.”  Some were given cards with a fan that said, “I’m a big YOU fan,” or “You’re cool.”

Inside each card, I wrote a sincere, specific note telling why I admire each of them. 

Although the stamped image did not remain the same, each card’s front cover looked like this (did I mention I am a bit of a rebel?):

Every single one of my team members had tears in her eyes when she read her card.  I felt a little bit like a fairy duster.  Even if only for a moment, I saw my colleagues recognize their greatness and OWN it. 

If you are here, you are awesome (it’s true, my blog button even says so).  If you are here, it means you are living the life of a reader and writer.  You are participating in a community of readers and writers.  You are growing as a person and as a professional right this very moment.

So, even if only for this moment, please recognize your greatness and OWN it today.   I appreciate you.


  1. Thank you thank you thank you I so love this. We are a small school but have had a tumultuous past two years. Where there used to be cohesiveness and unity between administration and staff there is now fracture. This would be so great to hand out. I hope you don't mind me stealing your idea.
    Thank you for being such an amazing influence to us all.

  2. I would love working with you! You are the kind of rebel with whom I could rebel. :) Fantastic slice. I have no doubt that you've lifted spirits, rekindled that sense of 'I am a good teacher' and 'Somebody gets me.'

  3. You are the best. Why can't we teach across the hall from each other? It seems like morale is low in most schools...hmm..sign of the times?

  4. Thank you for this post. There has been a bad storm brewing in Chicago and as the scarecrow said to Dorothy, It's going to get darker before it gets lighter. I needed a bit of a nudge to think positive!

  5. I'm a big FAN of you! This is awesome! Just like kids, we all need that extra pat on the back and acknowledgement of a job well done, especially with all the craziness of the system, the governments, the world!! What a powerful way to say "you matter."

    By the way, how do you have time to be so creative?!? Just lovin' it!

  6. Deb...If you get to teach across the hall from Christy, then I get to teach next door!

    Seriously, Christy, this is awesome. Awesome that you made the cards. Awesome that you wrote this post. Awesome that you're a rebel. Awesome that you are here.

    AND -- I think you could sell those little cards on Etsy! :)

  7. You took my idea even farther, Christy. The cards are so special. I did what was suggested and copied my Tagxedo, wrote "a lot of comfort for Expo" on each one & gave everyone in the school one the day before. Everyone in our school works so hard to make that day a success, so they all deserved one. Thank you so much for the shout out to my idea, I appreciate you & all that you do, too! I think we're just completing our hall! What fun we would have. As Dr. Seuss says, "Oh the thinks you can think!"

  8. I love that you chose the word "nudge" It is perfect..in so many ways. I'm with Deb and Ruth, if they get to teach next to you, I'm coming too! I can pack quickly...I can not imagine a better place for me to be inspired and nudged than being sandwiched between you, Ruth & Deb. The possibilities would be endless. I'm off now to imagine. I have now been nudged to imagine new possibilities. Great slice!

  9. I am a big fan of unexpected thank you cards too. Well done.

  10. Inspirational. Nudging us all toward expressing our sincere appreciation.

  11. We have to do this at our sites. Encourage one another with a "sincere, specific note." lovely post.

  12. Thank you. My heart is swelling with encouragement. Not that I am discouraged at the moment; I just know how sincere you are and it's beautiful! My OLW is believe, so I will smile, nod in agreement, and give you a hug. :)

  13. It is discouraging to have administration that doesn't do what they need to do to encourage teachers. I am so touched by your reaching out to the teachers in your district that have been "red penned". It is quite easy to hurt a teacher. It is difficult to repair them after they've been hurt.

  14. Wow. Just think of how much love you spread by making these, giving them, then blogging about them! Thanks so much for sharing...

  15. How did I pass through yesterday and miss this incredible post? You touch so many lives, not just the ones in your building. I think I am a better person just because you write things that give me goose bumps and tears. Your words of encouragement go to the heart.

  16. Can I nudge you all to come teach overseas? Then we could all be in a hallway together.

    Nudge is a great word. I am putting a sticky on my desk to remind me of it this week.