Download PDF (1 MB)
As a former middle and high school football coach, I gave my share of pregame pep talk speeches. We gathered the team in an endzone or locker room and helped them focus on the game. 13 to 18-year-old athletes needed basic reminders of who was on kickoff but inspirational words also helped to set the early tone of the game. I always tried to emulate the message that Jimmy Valvano described in his 1993 ESPY speech in which he describes the three things every person should do every day. Early in the season, we would outline the three priorities of the team and these traits focused any speech for my athletes. This fall I have challenged the Learning Forward Kansas (LFKS) board to focus on three simple concepts:
Go Big, Stay Calm, Be Positive.
Obviously, to “go big” one must have goals and aspirations, but the concept is larger. Too often educators are hesitant to attempt something different or push back against a new initiative. To go big means to refuse to let fear of the unknown stop our efforts. For years I have prescribed the concepts that Marainne Willamson outlined in her quote highlighted in the movie Coach Carter. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that frightens us.” Many educators tend to ”play it safe” and while we always want research-based methodologies, we stop short of achieving our ultimate greatness. Perhaps we fear how great our impact might be; we fear our light. Over the next year, LFKS will strive to go big and find new ways to spread the “how” of professional learning.
Teaching during a pandemic, one can become overwhelmed easily. Teachers are balancing students in quarantine along with worrying about their own health. Educators throughout the state will need to remember to stay calm. I have always liked the analogy of a duck on water. On the surface, educators will look graceful and calm, even when the world spins too quickly.
In a TED Talk, educator Rita Pierson challenges teachers to be the hero that every student deserves. These words and concepts inspired the idea to be positive. We challenge you to be positive and confident and you will make a difference this year. Strive to impact students at higher levels and be assured that you have the skills to make a difference.
Eric Shipman, President
Learning Forward Kansas
Problems? The online application form also is available at this direct link.
If you prefer to print and mail your membership application, use the links below:
Learning Forward Kansas Membership Resources
- Online Membership Application
- Membership Application to Print and Submit by Mail (PDF 347 KB)
- Free Membership for First Year Teachers and Pre-Service Student Teachers (PDF 229 KB)
Reasons to Join Learning Forward Kansas
- Fuel your passion for contributing to powerful professional learning
- Deepen your understanding and application of the standards for effective professional learning.
- Strengthen your own knowledge, skills and strategies for effective professional learning.
- Develop a support community of statewide educators who strive to assure all professional learning experiences are effective and impactful.
- Learn from others about how they are assessing the effectiveness of their work.
- Contribute to conversations on issues and ideas influencing professional development in our districts and across our state.
- Expand your capacities and opportunities by sharing resources and talents.
- Strengthen your beliefs and commitments to the importance of professional learning in making a difference for all students.
In addition to becoming a member of Learning Forward Kansas, please consider a membership with our National Organization, Learning Forward.