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Author Archives: Amber Greene
In one article, “Most likely to succeed”, Malcolm shares a story of an Educational Researcher, Jacob Kounin, who defines other things that help make a good teacher, great.
One of them is ‘withitness’. This is non-verbal communication that tells the students that you are ‘onto it’ or ‘onto them’ (!) without ever having to speak the words. This is Presence.
Isn’t this something that we want in a teacher?
Great teachers also take content and make it so much fun that even the most boring topic becomes as interesting as the latest fashion tip! They “value add”- topping up a subject with a dose of interest and a spoonful of creative thought.
Great teachers truly inspire!
My favourite quote in the book is “Achievement= Talent and Preparation“. I think if more people knew and believed this, the creativity in the world might explode. It seems it is not just down to sheer talent alone. Right, now our lone excuse (I’m not talented enough) goes right out the window! Great stuff! It is time to take responsibility and Just Do it.
That’s the secret, isn’t it. If you, like me, want to be a successful writer/artist/poet/songwriter/screenwriter or whatever else it is that you dream of being, we have to TAKE ACTION.
Finding the ideas is the easy part. Making the time for the work is far more difficult. The only difference then between those that are successful and those that are not, is that the successful ones set their goal and every single day, put their attention and focus and time into doing the things that would help them reach their goals. Every day. I sit at the computer and write, regardless of whether my inspiration is shining or not. I just write.
I’ve always suspected that if we could find that pocket of creative thought in our bones, (we all have it somewhere) and stop wishing and hoping but instead, gave it time, and lessons, and lots of hours practice (all of which would protect the flame), one day we’d wake up and realise that our creative dream had COME TRUE!! We might not be Lady Gaga but we would be singing for our supper!!
Malcolm also spoke about a type of school in America, the KIPP initiative . I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of it but gee I like some of what they are doing.
One thing really struck me, because it is something for all, not only for struggling school students or disadvantaged children. We could all do better in life with this little hint up our sleeve.
Here it is: The SSLANT Protocol.
Nod when spoken to
Track with your eyes
Simple, isn’t it. Last week, I was talking to a doctor whose children attend two (the boy and girl versions) of the most posh schools in my town. He shared a story of the moment he was most impressed, the instant that he and his wife knew they had made the right schooling choice for their family.
“I went to pick up my little boy, who was in Prep at the time. All the small boys were lined up outside their classroom, with their boater hats on. The teachers told them that once they saw their parents arrive, they were dismissed for home. My son saw me, and so he walked over to his teacher, took off his boater hat, shook her hand and said goodbye, and then walked over to greet me. In that moment, I knew he’d be all right in life”
This kind of thing is so different from the typical classroom. The bell rings, the children might stand behind desks and sing “Good afternoon, Teacher”, then it is time to rush or run off. It sometimes feels like absolute chaos, a whirlwind of a tornado and it happens all over the school. But it can be different. One of my mentors, years ago, encouraged me to greet, and farewell, every child with a handshake and their name. As in, “Good Morning Tom. How are you today?” I really believe this eye to eye, HEART to HEART, contact is the greatest gift we can give our children. When children grow up believing that they have every right to be here, feeling respected and able, they mature with a deep belief in themselves and their ability to succeed.
But what if you didn’t have that growing up? I don’t think that can be an excuse.
Why not start believing in your ability to be successful now?
We can start with these KIPP principles.
It starts with a smile.
With every person I encounter this week, I’m going to Smile, sit up, listen, ask questions, nod when I am spoken to, track with my eyes, and greet everyone I meet by their name. It continues to amaze me that we can practice outward behaviours and make such an impact on our internal reality. Success. Here we come.
I’m betting that if you make these six behaviours part of your everyday reality, it won’t be long before you are back at the page, roaring and ready to go into action and achieve those dreams and goals of yours. Cheers to your future success!
- A lady who is sent instructions, via email, of the ‘patient’ role she must play for newly trained and final year doctor students. She is given a strict set of guidelines as to what she must do, eg rant and rave and complain about the 15 other ailments she has not directly connected to the current problem, being meek as a mouse and vague on describing symptoms, being authoritarian and full of ‘internet’ knowledge about their undiagnosed ‘dis-ease’. With these boundaries in place, she must turn up to the ‘surgery’ in full regalia and “become” the patient. I love it!
- A lady who travels the world, from London to Dubai to New York and Europe, in her quest to predict the next ‘in-thing’ for Christmas. Not this one, but next. She is in charge of choosing colour palettes, styling scenes, choosing cool ornaments, figurines, flashing lights and wrapping paper and then has to train her team to display these products to their best ability. I love it!
- A man (yes, a dad of one of my old school peers actually) who travels the world painting with his private bits. Yes, his private bits on his front, AND his bottom cheeks. If you don’t believe me, you can look him up. Prickasso. Making a fortune supposedly. Mmmmm….
- Becoming a year-round ‘elf’ in Santa’s village in Lapland. They have the task of loving and believing in Christmas 365 days a year, making gingerbread cookies with ‘Mrs Claus’ each night for the new visitors, finding and decorating new trees and driving reindeer. I love it!
- A local man who spends his days making all kinds of cheese from the milk of dairy cows on the farm. I could think of worse things to do than make and taste cheese all day.
Have you ever heard of Ideophoria? I hadn’t until I read the book 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women, The: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women. I have my diagnosis. This is my problem!Ideophoria is a ‘rapid flow of ideas‘. But Gail McMeekin likes to describe it as ‘the ability to generate lots of new thougts and ideas quickly. It is an experience where one feels a constant onslaught of new ideas, creating a euphoric state of idea creation.’ (2011)Honestly, sometimes it feels as though my brain is a whiteboard and new thoughts are being rapid fired at me by a conference room full of men and women on expresso coffee. I can’t keep up! It’s like I write something down and then something else down, whilst at the same time, an invisible someone wields the whiteboard eraser to make room for the next thing. Ideophoria is like a creative person’s ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
I like the ideas. In fact, I love them. I’ve taken to keeping a pack of post-it notes by my side just about everywhere I go and fill these in with gusto. I’ve set up a container on my shelf to collect these idea tit-bits and over the week, slowly make my way through them. I add them to my writing or crafting or sometimes even here on the blog. But I just don’t have enough time to do all of them. What is with this ’24 hour in a day’ limit, hey? I could do with another 12 at least just to catch up on the sleep I missed in the first 24.
Ideophoria is a strange thing too. The more ideas I note down, the more that seem to appear. It’s almost like there is someone out there in the universe saying, “Hey, she’s listening. There, over there. She’ll take it. Send them to her!” Want to share? Easy. Start listening to!
I’m often asked how I get so much done? It’s easy, I say. I don’t have a television. But its not only that. I make a daily plan. Every single day, I wake up and no matter what my obligations for the day, whether I need to be somewhere or doing something, working outside the home or attending a meeting, I schedule ONE creative thing I must do to help my dreams move forward.
With all these ideas floating around, the hardest thing is to avoid getting caught up in the joyful exuberance of possibilities and avoid the hard work of preparing the muddy foundations so the ideas can take wings and fly.
About 3 months ago, I participated in an on-line course and this idea of noting down ONE THING was probably the best bit of advice I’ve had in years. I now write this ONE thing down at the top of my diary every day, and do not go to bed until it is done. Experience has taught me to do the one thing early in the day! And to be realistic about my ability to achieve it on any given day. On busy days, my thing might only take 5 minutes. On days where I am able to be home, it might be an artistic activity, such as taking photos for a crafty how-to, that takes hours.
In the book, Gail gives six practical solutions to overcoming the challenges of Ideophoria too. Focus is the key. I’ve found the way to balance the idea flow, and engage with them too, is to give each idea a little bit of my time. I can become a baker, a gardener and a candlestick maker, if only for a day. You can too!
Wow. Definitely time for women to start bringing their heart and soul to work (not just their brains or ability) or find another job where they can. I thank my lucky stars for the 10 years I spent in my last job. I honestly didn’t realise just how lucky I was to work creatively every single day, in an environment that actually paid for my artistic development too. I knew it was good but for me, it was normal. I only learn it wasn’t normal when I talk to other women friends about their job environments. Now there is proof. For our health’s sake, let’s fire up our creative sparks at work too!
I’m always inspired by quotes. I’m a quote junkie, especially for quotes related to parenting, goal setting and a meaningful life. Here are some of my current favourites: