Recently in the #4OCFPLN, Kristin Nan asked for us to pen what our small group meant to each of us. In short, this group of educators provides me with daily discourse from a variety of educational perspectives on a limitless number of topics in a digital (audio, video, and text) platform that I carry in my pocket. How many educators have truly found “their tribe”? And, what do you do if you are facing a school year as a new teacher or as an educator new to a position/building/district?
The answer is: Find your marigolds.
Jennifer Gonzalez, in her widely shared post “Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers” on her Cult of Pedagogy website, discusses marigolds:
Marigolds exist in our schools as well – encouraging, supporting and nurturing growing teachers on their way to maturity. If you can find at least one marigold in your school and stay close to them, you will grow. Find more than one and you will positively thrive. ~Jennifer Gonzalez
What incredible and positive advice for a person who is navigating a new garden!
But, what if you are entering a garden that is already familiar to you. You are a veteran teacher with a logbook about the plants in your garden. In fact, you already have labels on the marigolds (and the pesky walnut trees). What can you do? Can you genetically change a walnut tree into a marigold? Maybe. Maybe not.
You can, however, BE a marigold. In your building, there will be educators who are new to your garden or new to their spot in the garden. How can you ease their transition? BE a marigold. This is so simple, free – all you need is a genuine smile – and the results are magical! In practice, marigolds are helpful, encouraging, supportive, and positive. For example, marigolds help when the copy machine is grumpy, answer questions without judgment, brainstorm new ideas and model true collaboration, celebrate successes – particularly when accompanied by a risk-taking adventure, and drop encouraging notes in mailboxes (bonus if chocolates are attached).
Marigolds do not need titles to be marigolds. There is no stipend for this role. But, the benefits are priceless: meaningful relationships that are rich in communication, collaboration, and creativity. Better news: There are no limits to the number of marigolds that can co-exist in a building. In fact, I challenge you to fill your building with them!
Marigolds need other marigolds to thrive. If you are limited in marigolds in your building, remember that we live in a digital world where being connected transcends time and space. Utilize social networks like Twitter and Instagram to meet educators that share your passion! It doesn’t matter where you get your fertilizer, as long as you are positively growing so that you can give your very best to the students you serve.
Please share how you will BE a marigold this year!