Robert Dunlop STRIVE—For Happiness in Education
This summer I joined my very first #BookCampPD book study. The book selected for this round was STRIVE for HAPPINESS in EDUCATION written by Robert Dunlop. The online conversation was facilitated by the educator enthusiast Meredith Johnson who continues to inspire so many teachers and leaders to keep learning through reading and connecting.
Dunlop dropped into our twitter chats and like his book STRIVE you could feel his positivity vibe coming through his posts and reflections. In the preface of his book, he shares his thoughts on happiness. “It is essential to note that happiness is not something that you find or achieve, it is something that you constantly strive for. There are always going to be ups and downs. You will face challenges, and you will find success. You will have good days and bad. You will have great classes and ones that take you to your tipping point. The key is to make happiness a priority in education. This is the root of a healthy, fulfilling, and truly impactful career.”
With many of us now contemplating our next steps for continuing a modified Distance Learning experience for our students due to the COVID19 Pandemic, finding happiness will be a priority for the fall. Using the letters in the word STRIVE Dunlop demonstrates through stories and other classroom experiences how one can choose happiness by purposefully striving to prioritize students, teams, routines, innovation, viability, and yes being that extraordinary educator. There are many simple replicable take-aways for both teachers and leaders and heartfelt reminders of why striving for happiness matters for educators. I would add especially during a time of crisis. Dunlop reminders the reader, “Each journey is unique. The key is to look for opportunities that will allow you to dial into finding more joy one adjustment at a time.”
Here are a few key ideas I want to implement to purposefully keep happiness at the forefront of teaching and learning with staff, students, and families.
Staff-Random Acts of Recognition: “We need more moments where we feel appreciated and recognized for our many talents and the extra time we invest in our students, school, and the profession as a whole.”
Students-Ask Questions: I shared this graphic in a previous post, but Dunlop had the same idea. “Ask questions that will promote conversation and give you an avenue to get to know them better.” #Relationships #Relationships #Relationships
Families--Prized Possessions: “Learning how to gain and maintain the trust of a parent community can have an extremely positive effect on your experience at a school.”
At the end of his book, Dunlop encourages the reader to “Be That Teacher” that will be remembered for years to come. I will make the assumption that includes all educators who work to support and serve our students and their families “Someone who is happy, passionate, caring, and kind. Someone who inspires and leads. Someone who wants to make the world a better place. Someone who is extraordinary in their eyes. Someone they will never forget. Seize the opportunity and be that teacher.” Our kids deserved that joy, that passion, that experience.