November 8, 2020
Have you ever wondered how something during your day is connected to an earlier thought you had? I’ve recently had that happen and wanted to share.
The universe hears our thoughts – both negative and positive. Even though we might think they are coincidences or synchronicities, it all comes back to our internal thoughts. And you never know who you might inspire or have an impact on by your thoughts, without ever talking about them to anyone.
Recently, we had a professional development day for teachers. I was excited as I am the Curriculum Director and I was excited to have the time to be with teachers. Now that I am not working in a classroom, the teachers are like my students. I spent 27 years in the classroom and at times, I really miss the children.
Before the day began, I was thinking this is the first break the teachers have had for this unusual teaching year. Then, I was remembering back to my early teaching years. The first break of the year was a weekend in mid to late October. We would get a four day weekend for the big National Educator’s Association Conference. I remembered that I never actually attended the conference because I always spent the weekend with my own children instead. Since the universe heard what I was thinking, it brought it into my reality.
During the professional development day, I had the chance to speak with teachers and discuss how things were going this year. During a conversation with a group, I told the teachers that I hoped they would be able to enjoy their three day weekend…..That’s when it happened. One of the teachers said, “I can remember years ago our first long weekend was always the NEA conference in October.” I knew that I am exactly where I am supposed to be when I get signs like that! I knew that the universe was with me and guiding me in my life journey. I felt connected. I said, “Yeah – I remember that too! I never went to the conference, but I always enjoyed the first break of the school year!”
Then a few days later, I was talking with a colleague about what our professional goals were and what we might want to do next in our careers. We both definitely enjoy our jobs now but also were thinking about the future. She said, “I would love to teach college classes.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve taught some and most definitely enjoyed teaching. But, I’m not sure if that is what I want to do or not.” Then, something happened later that helped to guide me in that idea….
I arrived home that day and was reflecting on the conversation. What do I want to do next? I love writing and I love helping teachers. Where do I want to put my energy? What about both? How does my professional career connect to my writing? I wrote about spiritual things and my connection to Heaven. But within my first book, there were so many lessons beyond the dimes…how can I use what I am passionate about for both my writing and my career. That’s when I read a post on Facebook…
I teach a Curriculum class for Southern New Hampshire University. It is not a traditional class in the sense of re-writing the standards in Math and Literacy. It is understanding how to design a curriculum to be engaging for students, both the teacher and the students. I base the class on three books – Teach Like a Pirate, Shift This, and Best Classroom Practices. I model my class using the strategies in these books. One of the biggest components is that my students get to experience what it is like to be curious about learning and basically “choose their own adventure”. (One time I did this at a school for professional development time and the teachers LOVED it!) My Master’s level class encourages each student to dive deeper into whatever topic(s) interest them. They go on a search for their own adventure! It is truly magical. Each guided by structure but allowing them to research what they want to explore. When I explain that there is no structure for their project,********* I don’t want a powerpoint. I don’t expect an essay. I expect them to show me how they are applying their research and adventure exploring to their teaching – and that form is up to them. They all freak out and want me to tell them exactly what to do, what form it should be, and how to “meet my expectations”. I explain that everyone is different and that’s ok. I support them during this struggle. Then, in the end, they are all amazed at how much they grew during this process! It’s tough watching them struggle through, but it’s worth it in the end! It’s part of restructuring what school should look like.
This one particular student that I had a while ago, took off with his research. His name was Neil Kelly. I swear Neil did like four or five different projects. He was so excited and loved so many different concepts in the books we studied. When people ask me if I miss the children, I say, “Well, now I am helping teachers and I think of all the students these teachers will teach and the impact of hundreds of students this will have for years to come.” It gives my life meaning for sure.
When I arrived home after the discussion with my colleague about whether or not to teach college classes, Neil posted on Facebook an article about his students.
Neil was implementing the idea from one of his projects called Genius Hour. “Genius Hour is an instructional practice that teachers have employed that allows students to pursue their passions and interests, engage in research and learning experiences to learn more about their passion, create a variety of products, and present their learnings to authentic audiences.” It gives students time “to engage in a learning experience that enables a level of autonomy, personal investment and creativity that is completely student-centered and tailored to the strengths and learning styles of students. This is similar to how I teach my Curriculum class to Southern New Hampshire students who are in the Master’s in Education program. My Curriculum class and Genius Hour focus “on student engagement, motivation, and strengthening attitudes/dispositions of learning.” Neil did this in my Curriculum class and is now passing it on to all of his students.
I saw this and said – “OMG! Was this perhaps inspired by a class you took awhile back?!?!? Go YOU!!”
He responded, “Monica Morrissey. It indeed was!! And now it has become the big focus of my Action Research! Thank you for being the inspiration behind it all! :)”
Me, “Neil Kelly. Love it! That is amazing! This made my day! Thank you so much. :)”
When I asked Neil if I could use him in my blog, he responded, “Omg. yes, 1000% yes!!! Please do! I’d love to see it on your blog when you’re done. I’m so glad! Your class, you, your story truly shaped me personally my practice as a teacher and an aspiring administrator. We are in round 1 of research and Monica, it is going so well!! The kids are engaged, begging for more time to do it, and my colleague that teaches ELA/SS asked if we could do this all year. Thank YOU!”
When I wrote my first book, Dimes From Heaven How Coins and Coincidences Helped me Discover my Life as an Empath, within my story is when I learned to follow my own interests and wonder about life. One of my professors had us read a book, Leading with Soul. The book guided me to think about leading with a bigger purpose and meaning. Why did I want to be a leader? Why was I here on earth? What was I doing that would help the world? It made me think about, “A Why am I here on earth kinda why…”
Neil helped me find my answer. I am here to inspire people to follow their interests and be the best they can be. Neil is changing lives, one student at a time.
Neil is changing how students learn and that will spread among his colleagues and forever change other teachers and how students learn in our school system. Learning should be both fun and interesting. Neil is leading the way and I have no doubt that for many years, students in his classroom and teachers in his school will forever be changed by the way he is teaching.
It reminds me of what I used to say to my own students when I was teaching. The Principal would walk in and I would tell them, “Don’t let the Principal know that we are having fun. They might tell us that learning isn’t supposed to be fun.” I was joking and the kids loved the sense of humor. I had so much fun in my classroom and enjoyed each and every day with my students.
Neil inspired me today. Neil didn’t hear my thoughts, but the universe did. I was questioning myself and whether or not I should continue in my role teaching teachers. I know that Neil read my book and related to so many things I wrote about. He inspired me to keep writing and keep teaching teachers. I know that the universe heard my thoughts and showed me signs today to keep doing what I am doing.
Who have you supported today? Who have you inspired? What positive thoughts are you sending out to the universe? What is your life purpose? Are you a teacher inspiring students each and every day? Are you a nurse helping people heal? Are you an auto mechanic helping people with their cars? Are you helping others in any way – no matter what your work is?
The universe is always listening and guiding us in a way that sometimes is hard to understand. When I have Faith, I know that each and every day the universe will support me. I will continue to think positive thoughts and support other people in their journey. Neil helped me change my perspective today and for that, I am forever grateful.
After contacting Neil about this blog post, here is what he wrote back to me:
“ You truly inspired me and touched my life in more ways than just one being your student. It reignited the love I have for what I do, and has inspired my desire to become a teacher of teachers in an administrative role in the years to come. Such a gift that I will forever be in your debt for… from the bottom of my heart, thank you…Be well, stay in touch, and keep being remarkable, inspiring you.”
Thank you, Neil Kelly, for being you!
In Love and Light,