Now #Trending…

Collaboration, in any organization, is key— especially when the goal is to create an inclusive environment for all individuals to feel valued and respected. The people within an organization, for the most part, want to experience an enriching workplace. Some may even wish to pay it forward.

Five years ago, a fellow English teacher and myself wanted to do just that, pay it forward. We took it upon ourselves to complete our Google Certification. We taught an in-district summer professional development course. We were selected to present at an annual English Teachers Conference in Albany, New York.

Our vision, The Trendy English Teachers, was coming to fruition, website and all. Unfortunately, the vision was placed on the back-burner, and not entirely from our doing alone.

Once the 2022-2023 school year rolled around, my fellow English teacher (yes, that same fellow English teacher), shared how she wished to somehow participate in my school building leadership internship experience. Like many other educators, my colleague is very much aware of the strengths she has to offer to the organization. Me, being the collaboration, true collaboration, advocate that I am, excitedly said, “Of course!”

So, as we always do, we got to work.

We sat down, made a tentative date and schedule for school-day availability, how we would construct courses based on teacher-driven needs. What would that look like? How would that look? What is required of us, and our participants (faculty and staff), to prepare for, and participate in, meaningful, voluntary, school day professional learning opportunities?

We listed “trendy” articles, “trendy” videos watched on social media, and shared our own “trendy” creations with one another.

We made a list of all the topics to cover, the target audience, the faculty. But there are others to consider, like the staff members of our building. The staff need to be equipped with the technology foundation because students look to them for support and guidance.

Would we include the administration? Yes! Of course! Why not? If the administration suggests technology be used in the 21st century classroom, then they too should have the knowledge of the types of technologies readily available to enhance student learning, performance and progress.

The origin of transformative change rests upon transformative leadership. Highlighting the positive contributions of others within an organization can possibly ruffle some feathers. However, the positives outweigh the negatives. As a future school building leader, I know I must honor the strengths of others within an organization. I must, in some way, make certain the individuals who wish to be directly and indirectly a part of the vision and mission’s sustainability be included, supported, and celebrated for their efforts.

#TrendThePositive

Trending Together with T & J, © J. Maricevic (2022)

It’s just Daisy, being Daisy

It’s just Daisy,
being Daisy.

It’s just Daisy,
being—

her gorgeous self,
and knowing
she’s gorgeous,
and expressing
a quiet,
self-confidence,
a happy tail-wag;
the usual.

Look close.
It’s just Daisy,
being Daisy.

She hears
three words.

And Daisy,
just being;
sticks out her tongue,
ever so slightly,
to whisper a reply,
ever so lightly—

“I love you, too.”

© Jessica Maricevic, 2022

A happy Daisy, post-spa day.

New Kid on the Block

The New Kid on the Block
© J.Maricevic, 2022

It’s tough to be the “New Kid on the Block.” But it’s much easier to be “the new kid,” to acclimate, get comfortable with new surroundings, manage new personalities, to feel included in what may, at first, seem like an impermeable pack, when someone reaches out a hand, or paw; a welcomed extension for all to see & emulate.

If you can put yourself in the “paws” of a puppy, a puppy attempting to navigate a new life, on a new street, with 14 other new doggos, from 10 different households, then you can empathize with the person to your left, and to your right. You can extend your hand, or paw, in an empathic gesture of kindness to the “new kid on the block.” You can dissolve those socially constructed barriers, and make that connection. Believe me, you can.

In this real-life scenario, and others like it, the human-animal relationship provides us humans with the necessary intra & interpersonal competency development to be better humans.

Furthermore, developing these social-emotional competencies, with the help of a furry friend, results in a transferable awareness to the way in which we interact with other humans.

So, next time, when you notice a “new kid,” on a new “block,” be an ally. Open your heart & mind to the benefits of getting to know someone, without passing judgment.

Think about that next time, when there’s a “new kid,” on a new “block,” will you choose to be an ally? Will you choose to open your heart and mind to the benefits of getting to know someone, without passing judgment? Will you think of the new puppy, on the new street?

Be the person who consciously considers life from someone else’s shoes, or paws. Be the one to welcome “the new kid on the block,” into your pack.

Actions Speak Louder Than…

Canine Courage, ©J. Maricevic, 2022

On any given day, for any given reason, the world can be a lonely, isolating place for a person navigating an internal challenge. And sometimes, those feelings are left to fester like an open sore to the person experiencing the emotions, emotions that may remain undetectable to the naked eye passing by (yes, there’s an allusion to Langston Hughes in this paragraph).

We all must be better to the stranger, the acquaintance, to those closest to us… we all must be better, for you never know of another person’s struggle…

And to be better requires courage, courage to be:

✨The individual to stand by the side of someone in the midst of a conflict…

✨The individual to stand up when bystanders appear to be oblivious to the reality of one’s struggle…

✨The individual to place assumptions aside and reach out to inquire about the well-being of another…

✨The one to say, “Sure, I’ll run alongside you!” without uttering a word…

✨The one to say, “You are not alone” without uttering a sound…

✨The one to take the kindness received, and pay it forward to another in need. #PayItForward…

Inspired by their collective canine courage, I share my artistic creation of Bravo supporting Daisy. Or is it Daisy supporting Bravo?

Is it really that important to distinguish which empathic set of paws is supporting the other? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Bravo and Daisy know that they have each other, no matter what the tide may bring. That, in itself, is just as much a comfort for the doggos as it is for their human.

There’s much to learn from our four legged friends— beings that possess the undeniable courage to do the right thing, allowing their actions to ‘speak’ louder than their … bark.