Guest Blog: Lou Montiel

It’s the start of a new year for us here at Big Ideas. We are all very excited to start the journey with you and look forward to this year’s blog and the blog entries we have in store for all of you. This week, our guest blog comes from one of our consultants, Lou Montiel.


Out with the Old…

The pendulum swings, the twelfth bell rings, the ball drops, and just like that it’s a new year!  For me, the new year is an inflection point. It is a new iteration. It’s an opportunity for reflection and perhaps redirection.  For many in the teaching profession, we set goals for ourselves and our students at the beginning of the school year.  The new year is a great time reevaluate those goals, or to start anew.  Here are some things you might consider as you continue the journey forward and show that you CARE:

 Celebrate!  Revel in the things that have been successful for you.  Identify your successes and think about what things contributed to creating that success for you.  Can these things be replicated across other arenas, or with other individuals?  For example, I had a student once that had a difficult time understanding how to solve a proportion.  I taught this student the rule for solving a proportion using a body kinesthetic math cheer.  Once I saw how well she understood using this method, I applied it to other students with equal success!

Analyze!  Have you ever stopped to consider how you spend your time during a typical class?  What behaviors are you engaging in that are productive? What behaviors are wasting time? What things have a high positive impact on students? What things have a low positive impact or even a negative impact on students? The answers to these questions are revealing and can often lead to changed behaviors with higher student success outcomes. I once had a trusted colleague observe my class while I was teaching and keep track of the percentage of students engaged during various parts of my lesson.  It turned out that when I spent too much time explaining things that did not need explanation a high percentage of students became disengaged, but when I was teaching something new the interest level went up.

Refresh!  AHHH, just saying this word makes me feel better!  To refresh is to renew energy, to reactivate memory, to replenish, or to update.  All of these things are important when we teach. And when it comes to setting goals, sometimes we need to refresh our motivation to strive for those things which we set out at the onset with such great vigor only to have that vitality wane away over the course of time. Sometimes all it takes is to keep our goals in front of us, visible, tangible, and intentional.  My wife often teases me about all the silly sticky notes she finds in various places where we live. She finds them on my bathroom mirror, on my nightstand, on the dashboard of my car, on my computer lid, on the refrigerator door and in other places. But for me, these notes refresh my memory and help me keep motivated towards goal attainment.

Eliminate!  Out with the old in with the new!  Stop doing things that don’t work. It’s crazy to expect bad practices to lead to good results.  Replace behaviors that bear no fruit with new seeds of hope and possibility.  Try something new this year.  You may be surprised it could become your new favorite thing.

Best wishes for a successful start of the new year!

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