Have you heard this saying before? "A great oak is only a little nut that stood its ground." You have to be a little different to try something new. You have to stand your ground to make progress on achieving your goals.
However, to make progress, that nut didn't just stand its ground. If we looked at an acorn underground, we would only see the shell sitting in some dirt. Meanwhile, lots of work is happening on the inside. The acorn is creating root systems and preparing for the day it will bust out its shell and blow off its cute little top. It works every day, but we don't see anything until the sapling pokes out of the ground five years later.
The acorn knows what the great Zig Ziglar always taught, “You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great."
What idea is germinating inside of you? I’m sure you have one. Let me ask you these questions:
Are you talking yourself out of it?
Are you listening to the naysayers?
My "Overnight Success" Story
When I started my teaching career, I was highly qualified but under-skilled. I knew my stuff, but I didn't know my kids. That resulted in a chaotic classroom and a whole lot of students learning a whole lot of nothing.
The problem was with me, and I knew it. Kids are kids. They reflect their world. It’s the educator’s job to make the lesson relevant to their lives, and I failed to do that.
I started seeking expert advice, and I landed at a lecture about connecting with students. The basis of the talk was that teachers have to connect with students to teach them effectively. I had never thought about teaching that way. I saw myself as the filler of empty vessels. In reality, my students arrived every day to my classroom as full vessels that simply needed a purpose. I needed to know what they knew and connect the curriculum to them.
The Steps I Took
I asked them to write me a letter, telling me how they felt about English - the good and the bad. I also asked them what they wanted out of this class and how I, as their English teacher, could help them be successful.
Darryl told me that he was nervous and felt out of place. He'd never taken an Honors class before, and here he was in my 11th grade Honors English class. Darryl wasn't a strong reader either, so he asked me to give him the assignments beforehand so that he and his mom could practice reading.
Once I knew what he needed, I started delivering it. I welcomed him every day with, "I'm so glad you’re here," and I typed up the reading schedule. He was ready every time I called on him.
In short, I transformed my classroom by creating relationships with my students. As a result, I had a great year. My students flourished, and I left school each evening knowing that I had strengthened relationships and taught my students what they needed. I was so excited about this turnaround that I decided to write a book to help other teachers improve their classroom management and build student engagement.
Here's the good news: Managing Your Classroom with Heart was published by ASCD, and it became a best-seller.
Here's the news that goes unsaid: I wrote the first draft in 6 months, but it took seventy-two rejection letters and eight years to secure a publishing deal.
Very few people knew how hard I was working to publish my ideas, but many congratulated me on my quick success once the book was on the bookshelves. They had no idea of my struggle, but I did. And I learned from that struggle. Now I know that I can accomplish anything with hard work, focus, and determination.
My second book, Everyday Engagement, took just two years from start to finish. Success breeds more success. I had to get that flywheel moving, and so do you.
What’s your acorn? The world needs your ideas. Why not begin today?
As a coach, I believe that everything you need resides within you right now. Don’t wait for the right time, the right temperature, or the right reasons. Act now.
Do you need a coach to fine-tune your ideas and get you started? Then, schedule a free 15-minute session with me, and lets' get started.
This blog was written by Katy Ridnouer, MEd, GPC, Certified Grant Writer, Coach, Virtual Assistant Principal, and School Start-Up Specialist with KLR Partners. If you found this content valuable, please share it.
If you want to explore professional coaching, contact Katy at Katy@KLRPartnersLLC.com today!