Tuesday, January 3, 2017

OLW 2017

This is my first time choosing One Little Word. Last year was the first time I learned about the idea and read some of the posts about people's choices and reasons.

In choosing my word, I wanted a word that would influence all parts of my life, not just my teaching life. I am concerned about the mood in the United States and about many of the problems in other parts of the world. It always seems like, what can I do? I'm just one person. But on the other hand, I belong to many communities. I am a teacher and can influence my students.

The word I choose for 2017 is bridge.

The more I thought about it, the more places in my life I saw that a bridge could be helpful. In my teaching, I need to build bridges so that all my students can be successful, whether that means helping develop a positive class community, reaching out to parents, or providing help to students to bridge the gaps in their skills.

We have a chasm separating groups in this country now. We desperately need to build some bridges. I had already decided to not contribute to the divide, by not participating in any of the memes or conversations in social media that ridicule one side or another. But silence doesn't build a bridge. I am thinking how I could try for a wobbly little footbridge by talking civilly to people who I do not agree with. Perhaps, "I don't understand this viewpoint. Can you tell me what is important to you in this issue?"

Bridges to other people: I have trouble talking with people, even people I know well, so talking to strangers is quite a challenge. I have always enjoyed the chance conversations with strangers when they spring up. To help me with this bridge, I am going to read the highly recommended book, When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You.  There's also a TED talk!

Life bridges: As I look ahead, I know I won't always be teaching, at least full time, in a school. I will be thinking about a bridge to another stage in my life. What do I want to do after this stage? It's an exciting thought.

I will be staying aware, to see more bridging opportunities in 2017.

16 comments:

  1. Becky, BRIDGE is a great word--both verb and noun. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on its connection to you and your life. And then almost immediately I thought of some of the great bridges and their stories -- The Golden Gate whose prototype is St. John's Bridge in my city, of Brooklyn Bridge (I've read the epic tale of its building,"The Great Bridge" by David McCullough), of the Bridge on the River Kwai (loosely told in the movie) of which I've read about because I love Thailand. I think in the stories of great bridges there are many life lessons... or should I say, life learnings. I am eager to read in 2017 about your "bridges" and your "bridging" stories. BTW, this is my first year to choose an OLW - REJOICE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alice! I love your connections with actual bridges and it reminded me that I want to read McCullough's book. Rejoice is an excellent choice, too. Lots of connections and lots of music connections.

      Delete
  2. I just love your word and how you are thinking about it. So glad you chose a OLW and shared it in your slice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lisa! I'm looking forward to exploring it and sharing here.

      Delete
  3. Welcome! What a great first slice!! It's a great word. This community will definitely help you bridge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! This is a wonderful community!

      Delete
  4. Love can build a bridge...this song immediately came to mind when I read your story of finding your word. The world so needs a bridge! Here's to a successful first OLW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to look up the song -- I hadn't heard it. Now that I've read the lyrics, I will remember them to my OLW. You made me think of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - also a great song and image.

      Delete
  5. Congrats! I too chose my one word for the first time. I liked reading about the importance of this word for you. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Good luck to you, too, and happy new year!

      Delete
  6. This is a great word that can lead in so many directions. Building bridges is definitely better than burning them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I think I will find more connections and applications as the year progresses.

      Delete
  7. What a great word! I think we need more bridges in this world! So glad you will be one of the bridge builders. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a really powerful word. As you point out, it doesn't allow you to sit on the sidelines, but requires action. I think it's a very brave word, and a very generous one. I'm thinking that I don't always have what it takes to be the bridge when I'm struggling with what's on the "other" side. I admire you and wish you the best as you bridge your way through 2017!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's scary! I'm thinking baby steps across the bridge.

      Delete