William D. Parker Pause. Breathe. Flourish.—Living Your Best Life As An Educator
Twenty-plus years into a career in education and I still love it. It started with a desire to provide strong foundational literacy skills to each student and transitioned into supporting teachers as literacy leaders in their classrooms. Although becoming the type of leader that is in my head and heart has never been a linear path. William Parker’s book, Pause. Breathe. Flourish. provided me a type of roadmap with reflective guideposts for a learning leader who is still leaning in towards Living Your Best Life as an Educator.
Parker reminds the reader of the importance of self-care (Preface) and taking the time for other areas in your life, so who you are and what you do is more than just school-related (Chapter 1). Self-care also requires not only taking the time for physical health but includes those thoughts and exposures to ideas you put into your “mental playlist” for “continuous growth” (Chapter 2). He gives suggestions on how to use your time wisely and optimally to “find yourself better able to handle the stress and pace required for serving others” (Chapter 4) and recalls the opportunity for continuing to foster those friendships that not only push and pull you but provide accountability on your journey (Chapter 5). Parker’s recollections on how one’s faith can give you a community of support, and “provides healthy context for your leadership” (Chapter 6), and remembering the power of play as a pathway for innovation and joy (Epilogue) were an added bonus. In each chapter, Parker weaves the wisdom of living one’s life fully as an educator through personal examples and those lived experiences of others. They are relatable, inspiring, and full of examples as the reader reflects on one’s own path towards “Living Your Best Life as an Educator” by exploring the habits, practices, and mindset necessary for growth as both an educator and a person (Back Cover).
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I found the most guidance for my leadership road trip in Chapter 9. In this chapter, Parker provides explicit examples of how to invest in future leaders by “maximizing the leadership growth” of those whom you’re serving. Including taking the time for shared decision-making, giving others opportunities to lead, and even making mistakes, while “confronting important realities with confidence and grace.” Shared Leadership has been what drives me, as a teacher, as an instructional coach, and as a school principal. I am confident, Parker’s leadership insights in Pause. Breathe. Flourish. will continue to inspire me and many leaders on our own leadership expedition.
Traveling down the road of leadership is different for each of us. Parker’s book, Pause. Breathe. Flourish. is full of important reminders to make the journey even more purposeful with multiple opportunities for growth.