OLW Update

#sol22- August 16, 2022

On the last day of 2021 I chose my one little word for 2022. It was a tough call- I did not want the word to sound too strident, but I did want it to challenge me. FIERCE can take on different shades of meaning, depending on the context, but it felt right to me.

Sometimes this year I have felt I have not been fierce enough, whereas others may definitely have disagreed. Thanks to Heather for the nudge to reflect on my word today as we are discussing choosing a word for the first semester with our students.

Recently fierce has meant I wore a mask for the four weeks I visited the US this summer. I was often the only one masked, but… I felt I needed it to feel safe. Being fierce can mean taking the safe path.

I also had fierce supporting me on the various airplanes that got me to and from the US. On the airline I chose (Emirates), masks were still required, so I politely asked people to put on their masks when they forgot to. Being fierce can be polite too!

I also needed fierce while creating boundaries this summer. While at my mom’s house I sometimes said “No thanks,” to some of the activities she invited me to join in. While I appreciated the invitation, I also sometimes needed a break from peopling, so was fine to be “left behind.” Saying no is not always easy for me.

Last May a colleague and I agreed to co-facilitate our school’s DEIJ (diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice) committee. We hoped that DEIJ would be a whole school goal. We talked to the assistant director and while it wasn’t to be, we did feel listened to and got the go ahead to have an all school training during orientation. T and I successfully reached out to a facilitator and two weeks ago our faculty was engaged in a very successful session. Our next step is to meet with the directors to see how we can carry this momentum forwards. I feel like fierce is giving me the determination to help find ways to move things along, even when challenges may come up.

This week I am working with fifth graders and asking them to choose their own one little word. I shared the book, I Will Be Fierce, as I talked a bit about my word and the words I have selected in the past. We will spend a few days brainstorming possible words and then each will choose their own. My list of possibilities for 2023 is already ten words long and I am sure when I hear some of theirs I will be inspired to add on.

Fierce is serving me well so far and I have more than a third of a year left with it. I look forward to seeing where else I may feel or need this influence. My version of fierce is a little gentler than some, but still standing up for what I believe. I know that boundaries are not always easy for me to set, but the reminder that I can be fierce is helping me along.


5 thoughts on “OLW Update

  1. Your many specific anecdotes clearly show how your OLW is nudgung you along in a positive way. And your detail of already having a 2023 list is nudging me to start one. Fierce is now on it! I also like the idea of having my students also start the year with OLW and not wait until January. As always, you share the best ideas. Have a great school week with OLW as part of your lessons!

  2. Fierce can create safety. Fierce can be polite. Fierce can be necessary with people we love. Fierce can be persistent. Great exploration of how you are living you OLW. I also think its a great way to start the year with your students, and love how you share your own journey with them.

  3. I love the word fierce, and how many different ways you have found (so far) to use it. I haven’t done a word for the year before, but now I might (for myself). Thanks for the idea!

  4. Erika, I love the snippets of details you provide about being fierce. I like that you aren’t giving up on the work on the DEIJ Committee. Well done.

    I always enjoyed choosing our OLW for the year with grade 5 students. You will surely be adding to your list with their wisdom.

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