Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Who Are You?

Monday morning started out as any other in school. We turned on the morning announcements to begin our day. Our principal ends each day with sharing part of our school's mission statement. He does this every day. It becomes part of the fabric of our community since we hear it daily. Here's the full mission statement:

On this particular morning, there was a change. Mr. Phillips paused and changed the mission statement. I noticed the seventh and eighth-grade students in my class, look up and pay attention to this change.

Here is what he said, "
We offer every student and staff member here, each day, an unlimited welcome. No matter who you are, what your background, religious beliefs, ethnicity, or how you look, speak, or dress – that welcome is unlimited and unchanging. Today, treat each person with dignity, so that dignity can grow into understanding. For, in the end, there is only one true school rule – treat others with the respect and kindness that you would expect to be treated. Be committed to THAT today, and have a great day."

This found me flabberghasted, sitting in front of my students with tears in my eyes. I shared it on social media and I've seen it shared so many times. We need this now! These ideas. These words and we need to declare them to the world!

I decided to write my own personal mission statement. (I'd like to write one for me as a teacher and as a writer too, but I decided to start to write something for me as a person.) I didn't know where to begin, so I searched online and I found that there are lots of sites to help. 

I'm still on an early draft. Once I got the idea of what goes into a mission statement, I turned to my book for help. I'm reading Blessed are the Weird by Jacob Nordby. He is the writer that created the Beatitudes of the Weird...

This book is filled with the most beautiful ideas. I am savoring every last syllable. And the words he uses...I can not stop annotating!

I used these words. I created a list...

...and from that list, I began to craft my mission statement. Here are my early drafts...

I'm enjoying much of draft #1, but I still need to revise. I'll return with my finished, polished statement. What will your mission statement declare? Who will you be to the world? 
Jacob NOrdby


  1. I love everything about this post, your amazing school, your principal (I want to hug him!), and your writing. Love seeing the curls of your letters as you design a personal mission statement. What a wonderful thing to do today!

  2. This is such a rich post. I love that you shared your annotations in the book and your writing journal.Did you share this with your students? It would be a great writing exercise.

  3. What a thing your principal did! Tears. And the fire he ignited in you is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your principal, the book, and your process.

  4. First of all, love your principal's words --- and that your students' noticed too! Second, you are always amazing and inspiring and full of risk taking writing adventures! I would love to do this (one day) ... but my brain is too full of other nonsense to always myself this opportunity today. I appreciate (and admire) your raw honesty, all your thinking, and to see your thoughts step-by-step. Just beautiful!

  5. What a powerful statement. Loved seeing the notes in the book you're reading and your drafts as you are working on your own personal mission statement. Love the idea of creating a mission statement for being a teacher and a writer.

  6. That statement by your principal should be shouted to the world, Michelle. I wonder what Betsy DeVos would think of it? And that you've begun your own personalized statement shows thought and dedication, your own stance. I think most of us are reflecting on just who we are going to be in this new and turbulent world. Having a clear statement helps us be stronger. Thanks for sharing the process too.

  7. You've inspired me to start crafting a mission statement! I love how you shared not just the process of creating your statement, but the ideas behind doing this. I can't wait to get started on my own mission statement!

  8. I love that your principal changed things up to address the spirit of the times. Your mission statement is fresh and so you! ("murmurs of magic" and "audacious kindness...beautiful!")

  9. I've actually had students write mission statements. It's hard for them because they're not used to wrapping their minds around this kind of abstract thought.

    These days I feel more like the Dunkin' Donuts man chanting, "Time to make the donuts."

  10. This is such an uplifting post, Michelle! "Treat others with the respect and kindness that you would expect to be treated" sounds so simple, so why is it such a challenge for some? Blessed are the Weird sounds like a must-read. I especially love "Blessed are those who have endured breaking by life, for they are the resplendent cracks through which light shines." Thank you for sharing!

  11. Loved your post Michelle. What a message your principal delivered! It is one everyone, everywhere needs to follow. I am going to find this book - sounds amazing. Thank you.You have inspired me, and lightened my spirit.

  12. I love it! I may have to try and find that book too. Anything that inspires that much annotation must be good! Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. such a great thing your principal did! i love your notes they are awesome and all of those words - such great one little words.!!!


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