Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.
Recently, I stumbled across a quote that instantly resonated with me as a parent, teacher, and school leader. It comes from the late great Steve Jobs:
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
I am lucky enough to live the truth of these words every day. I truly love the work that I do, and I’m grateful every day that I get to do it. Of course, like many people, my journey was not a linear one, by any stretch; in fact, I seemed committed to making my path about as crooked as it could possibly be. In finding my way, I worked in prep kitchens, strawberry fields, retail gift shops, and even the silent, cold, lonely world of the corporate office of a large fast-food chain.
But a series of stops, starts, and serendipitous decisions led me to work teaching and leading literacy initiatives as a principal. It’s perfect for me—I relish all the joys and difficulties, challenges and celebrations.
I like what Mr. Jobs says so much because he’s not just recommending that we find something we love to do. Most of us understand why that is important. Instead, he takes it one step further by urging us to keep looking until we find what we love.
What wonderful words of advice. They can apply to anything—relationships, hobbies, where we live, how we spend our time. And they can apply, too, to our work as teachers of literacy. We can use those words when guiding students in their reading and writing work. We can tell them, don’t settle when you are searching for books and authors that you love. Don’t settle when trying to write something that encapsulates what you really want to say in the best possible way. Don’t settle for a vague understanding and mastery of your reading and writing. Keep looking, keep reading, and keep writing.
Because, as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
This week we conclude our two-part series on vocabulary learning. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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Bryce Bennett develops a four-step process to help high school students use their smartphones to master difficult vocabulary while reading:
Lindsay Barna offers advice from a literacy coach’s perspective of which vocabulary words are most important to teach:
In The Cold (Humid?) Truth About Words, Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris offer ways to integrate vocabulary learning into classroom routines:
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Cathy Mere shares tried-and-true strategies for Building Word Learning Routines with struggling young learners:
Melanie Swider finds word sorts are a great way to help intermediate students master new vocabulary for describing character traits:
Maria Caplin is Building Stronger Wordsmiths by integrating vocabulary work into content areas:
In this week’s video, Stella Villalba continues her lesson with young English language learners linking mentor texts, model writing, and vocabulary:
In a bonus video, an elementary literacy team discusses word learning in the context of student assessment results, as part of a year-long inquiry into word study:
That’s all for this week!