One Word Challenge

January 24, 2018 - 4 minutes read

What one word would you choose to represent your hopes for 2018?

Last year my one word was ‘patience‘. This year Judy Duncan has chosen ‘opportunity,’ Laine Anderson has chosen ‘gratitude,’ and Chris Kennedy chose ‘relevance.’ All great words, but none of them were my word. Additionally, having recently become the principal of West Bay I was feeling overwhelmed with the many choices that might best reflect my new role. After wrestling with many different words, I finally landed on one…focus.

I realized what I was really lacking was focus. Thinking about focus gave me clarity. It is easy to get distracted by the frivolous, the noise, the shiny and new, but when we are able to focus on what really matters we are able to make better decisions, take decisive action, and make a difference.

So in thinking about three key components of my life: my work, my family, my health here are three things I’m going to focus on:

My school focus: Critical Thinking

I’ve only been at West Bay a few weeks, but West Bay’s focus on critical thinking is evident in each and every classroom. The conversations that are happening between teachers and students around critical thinking are exciting. We’ve been having conversations about what defines critical thinking, how do we measure critical thinking, how do we assess critical thinking skills, what is the best way to incorporate critical thinking into our classrooms in authentic, relevant, and sustainable ways. We have a book club planned and our professional development is all going to be focused around improving students’ critical thinking skills.

My family focus: Mealtime

So much research highlights the importance of regular family mealtime. Physical, mental, and emotional benefits have all been documented including better academic achievement, greater self-esteem, higher sense of resiliency, and lower rates of obesity. With all these benefits, it still can be a struggle for families to find the time to sit down together for dinner. Both of my children play hockey, my husband and I have busy careers, and it is not always easy to make the time to sit down and enjoy a meal together, but this is my focus for my family this year. When we do sit down together with all of our devices turned off, we get to focus on each other and build a stronger family.

My health focus: Strength

‘Tis the season for recommitting to healthy living goals, but we can’t do it all! Getting more sleep, drinking more water, taking more steps, eating more vegetables, watching less television, where does one begin? Without a focus it’s easy to let things slide. So I needed to focus. Where will I put my time and energy? My focus this year is to become stronger. And even more specifically, I want to be able to do a pull-up! It seems a bit silly (and maybe even over ambitious), but I hope my focus will help me accomplish this goal.

Having a focus whether it is at home, in the gym or at work is key to ensuring that we stay on track, we use our resources wisely, and we make progress. As I look ahead into 2018 I am grateful for the opportunities afford to us, and hope that we stay relevant and focused throughout the year.