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This word surprised me in the middle of the night. When I went to bed last night, I had settled on a word. When I woke up at 3:00 AM, this word came to me and I knew it was my word.
Cultivate...to foster the growth of.
When I hear the word cultivate, I think of my garden. I spend lots of time amending the soil, clearing it of debris, and prepping the beds in order to have the best environment for my plants to grow. I want to give them a nourishing space where my vegetables and flowers will flourish. The time I spend cultivating my garden results in great harvests later in the growing season (OK, usually great harvests, sometimes great weeds sneak in there too).
And then I think about my professional career. There have been certain people who just make me feel smarter when I am around them. They make me think more deeply, ask questions, and reflect on my practice. They inspire me to be a better person and educator.
I watch them closely, wanting to know their secret. How do they create those relationships with others? I realize that they relate to others in a specific way. Their words and actions "foster the growth" of others.
It was the perfect word for me.
As a coach, I want to cultivate an environment where teachers feel respected and see me as someone who sits beside them and lifts their work as opposed to someone who is there to judge them. I want to empower teachers through my words and actions. I want to be the person who inspires.
As a teacher, I want to cultivate a space where my students can be the best they can be. I want them to feel the rewards of sticking with something even when it's hard. I want them to feel safe to take risks. I want them to know that I will always be on their side to help them be successful.
In my personal life, I want to be the wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter who cultivates trust, safety, warmth and support to the people I love the most.
Cultivate asks me to look beyond myself and focus on lifting others. It asks me to focus on "we" instead of "me."
I'm looking forward to this year and finding where cultivate takes me.