I don’t know about you, but I am a list person. In fact, I adore lists in all their splendor: lists on sticky notes, on notebook paper, on whiteboards, and even on digital devices. Why do I love them so? For me, lists provide a sense of purpose for my days. My list of tasks might be long, but acknowledging them and their importance to my day inspires me to complete them. Crossing the items off my list when they are completed gives me a sense of satisfaction. In fact, when I complete activities that were not on my list, I have been known to write them down just so I can cross them off. I imagine many of you can relate.

But To-Do lists do bring a certain level of stress with them: things we must do, tasks we must complete and items on the horizon that will need our attention. No matter how good it feels to cross the items off the list, it is still a list and sometimes, simply looking at the list can cause anxiety. And given the amount of tasks that teachers must complete in a given day or week, our to-do lists are long and typically, thankless. So why not introduce teachers to the Ta-Da list instead?

The Ta-Da list is the opposite of the To-Do list. Instead of creating lists of things we must do to ensure we are productive, the Ta-Da list celebrates what we have already done to shift our mindset from one of lack to one of accomplishment. And who wouldn’t appreciate a bit of accolades for the work we do?

Try it for yourself and then invite your teachers to do the same. It’s a simple one-step process:

Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you have accomplished today from arriving at school on time, to sending 17 emails, to tying 20 pairs of shoes, to completing 3 coaching cycles, to finishing paperwork, to making a teacher/student smile and more. Then, reread your list and marvel at what you’ve accomplished. That’s it!

I love doing this when I’ve had the kind of day that flies by, but I feel like I’ve gotten nothing accomplished. I’ll challenge that thought with a Ta-Da list and realize that I DID do many, many things after all….I just needed to change my mindset instead. And once I do that, the rest of the day gets better and better.

So, be sure to celebrate all you do and accomplish in a given day and invite your teachers to do the same. In fact, try this as an opening move in your next session with teachers and see how it shifts the perspective and whole feel of the room. But don’t limit this practice to opening moves in a professional development session. This activity is great for ANY small or whole group meeting, works well at those ‘taking stock’ kind of moments and is great for individual classroom coaching to keep a focus on the positive, too.

One more thing: you can vary the Ta-Da list any way you'd like! Create a Ta-Da list of all the teachers you've connected with recently, all the books you've read, all the coaching cycles you've completed and more! It's an instant mood-booster. 

So, what’s on your Ta-Da list today?

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