Things are changing. Some of us have already started school and some of us are getting ready to launch a new school year next week. Things are changing. We’ve spent the summer getting ready for our most uncertain and innovative year yet. We’ve connected together and shared ideas and resources for remote and virtual teaching and coaching. And we’ve shifted our mindsets to prepare for what is to come. We’re ready, together.

While I usually create an overall vision for each new school year, often in the form of one little word, this year is different. Yes, I have a vision. But it is not one little word. One little word simply cannot capture the complexity of what’s in store for us. But six little words can.

I love the idea of the 6-word story. Six little words can set the stage for future action, capture learning and life experiences and pack a whole lot of meaning and innuendo into a short phrase. So this year, my coaching vision is in the form of a six-word story. Here is it:

Now, you might be thinking this doesn’t make sense. How can we shift our comfort zone boundaries comfortably? Doesn’t this require a bit of intellectual unrest? Yes, it does. And I embrace it completely. I’m pushing my comfort zones on how to teach virtually, how to coach online and how to lead with equity and social justice in mind. And all of this can be uncomfortable. But in the coming months, I want to support teachers to make these kinds of uncomfortable changes, comfortably, feeling safe, supported and ready to learn together.

Think for a minute. What would your 6-word coaching vision be for the coming month? Notice I did not say the coming year, I said the coming month, because we cannot be certain what the year will bring. Here are a few additional 6-word coaching visions to ponder:

  • Read. Write. Teach. Coach. Lead. Repeat.
  • We can do hard things virtually.
  • Stay alive until Fall break. 😋
  • Rebuild one Zoom at a time.
  • Not a troublemaker, but an advocate.

Decide on a 6-word coaching vision for yourself to guide your daily practices in September. And then, make it tangible. Head to Canva and create a graphic to capture your 6-word story. Or, create a Google Slide that highlights your phrase with a colorful background instead. You could even just write it on a sticky note. Either way, make your vision tangible and post it in your daily line of vision. Print it and tack it onto a bulletin board in your office space. Or, save it as your screensaver instead, my personal favorite.

And now, for the challenge: Take one action each and every day of the month that matches your coaching vision. Print out this simple Google calendar template and write down one little thing you did each day to bring your 6-word story to life. Carve out two minutes to reflect at the end of your school day or even at the end of the night. Make your actions visible on the calendar and celebrate the small steps you are taking to make your vision a reality. Here’s what happens: you start to look for ways to make your vision a reality, intentionally creating opportunities to coach in ways that matter to you, simply by jotting down those actions each day. I promise. How? Because I first used this technique in my own personal life with great results. You can learn more about how in my guest post on Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s site ‘Sharing Our Notebooks’.

So, let’s review your September coaching challenge:

  • Create a 6-word coaching vision to guide your daily practices in September.
  • Make your vision tangible and post it where you’ll see it daily.
  • Print out the Google calendar template.
  • Carve out two minutes a day to jot one little thing you did each day to make your vision a reality.
  • Share your success on social media using #OneLittleThing and tag me at @AffinitoLit.

One last thing: If you complete the challenge and post the image of your six word vision, along with your completed One Little Thing calendar, you might just earn some coaching/notebooking swag! So, are you in? Comment below!

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