Monday, January 1, 2018

I will rise (OLW 2018)

Ever since I found my first "one little word" in 2012, I've spent December days seeking out my next word. Sometimes, a word finds me, jumping out, lighting up, or slamming into my brain. Those years, I just know I've found my word, or rather, that it has found me. Other years, I let a few words bounce around in my head, turning them over, letting them roll through my mind, trying them out to see if they fit. And a few years, I go actively seeking them, scrolling through favorite quotes or contemplating symbolic images.

Regardless, I've always managed to choose 6 words that have filled my life perfectly for the past 6 years: guiding me, pushing me, and encouraging me through sometimes unimaginable changes. It's incredible to realize that when I chose that first word, I was a young middle-school Spanish teacher on a cart who had only been blogging for a few months. Now, as I savor my seventh word, I'm an experienced high school ELL teacher and mom of an amazing toddler. Those words have taken me so far: 2012: connect --> 2013: delight --> 2014: spark --> 2015: love --> 2016: strong --> 2017: anyway

Usually, I like to reflect on the previous year, but I'm so ready to leave 2017 behind. Let's just say that I couldn't have possibly imagined how much I'd really need the word "anyway". In fact, I probably should have clung to it even more than I remembered to, but it got me through, nonetheless. Here I am, ready to choose another word.

This year, my word definitely found me, as surely as if it had appeared in the sky with shimmering lights. In 2018, I will RISE.
I love making my word with Drawing Desk & Font Candy!
I will RISE to continually improve my instruction.
I will RISE to provide feedback that enables a focus on learning.
I will RISE to show more love and grace to every student.
I will RISE to build a stronger classroom culture with more student ownership.
I will RISE to hold the line high every moment, every day.

I will RISE to "brave the wilderness" and work with authenticity. 
I will RISE to stand firm in doing what is best for students.
I will RISE to center myself in trust, kindness, and hope.
I will RISE to seek out and strengthen colleagues who work with purpose, integrity, and joy.
I will RISE to create widening ripples of positive change.

I will RISE to cherish small moments.
I will RISE to bring my best self home.
I will RISE to be careful with the feelings I create in those who matter most.
I will RISE to love with patience and presence.

I will RISE to keep my body healthy and my mind & heart strong.
I will RISE to choose courage over fear and gratitude over pain.
I will RISE to remember how far I've come, not just how far I have to go.
I will RISE to be gentle with myself.

"Just like hopes springing high, / still I'll rise." -- Maya Angelou


  1. There are some years that feel so good to leave behind. 2016 was that kind of year for me. I'm glad you are flinging your arms around RISE. I love the Maya Angelou quote you've connected to your word. Happy New Year!

  2. I'm glad I chose my word before reading about others. Rise is a great word and you've found a long list of ways Rise will guide you this year. I especially like that you will remember how far you've come. I tend to look at what needs to be done rather than how far I've already come. I haven't looked to see how many OLWs I've chosen. It's a wonderful way to greet a new year. Happy New Year!

  3. RISE. I like it and I loved the list of how it will impact your life. Happy New Year, Jen!

  4. So many ways to rise! It will be a good year.

  5. I find the PROCESSES we ALL use to find our OLW amazing......I am glad I chose and wrote about a word before I read all the wonderful posts today or else I could pick a new word every few minutes!

  6. I love your word— rise is perfect to embody the hope I know lives in your heart. I have a good feeling about 2018 but no matter what happens, I know you will indeed rise.

  7. I love your 2018 word! I chose Growth for myself because I would like to continue all of the progress I made last year.


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