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Happy Labor Day <<First Name>>!

Good ol' Merriam-Webster defines labor as, "1. expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory. 2. the services performed by workers for wages as distinguished from those rendered by entrepreneurs for profits. 3. a human activity that provides the goods or services in an economy." 

Work is defined as, "1. to perform work or fulfill duties regularly for wages or salary. 2. to perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations. 3. to exert oneself physically or mentally, especially in sustained effort for a purpose or under compulsion or necessity."

I promise this is the last definition. Job is defined  as "a regular remunerative position." 

Helpfully, Merriam-Webster suggests synonyms for work and labor. They include the following list of words: WORK, LABOR, TRAVAIL, TOIL, DRUDGERY, GRIND.

Hmm... I thought of these definitions as I pondered Labor Day. These definitions made me think of one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen about what the purpose of school should be.

Watch the video and contemplate if you want to help students work and labor. 

Have a great week!
"I just want to be happy when I grow up."

Ten Things Not To Do To Help Your Productivity

  1. Check email in the morning
  2. Always say yes
  3. Overcrowding our calendars
  4. Rushing from place to place
  5. Obsessing over our schedules
  6. Seeing everything as a priority
  7. Scrolling our social media feeds
  8. Doing multiple things at a time
  9. Jumping right into work in the morning
  10. Comparing ourselves
On a personal note, I have started getting up earlier in the morning (about 5:00), and I immediately go to our basement and do my core strengthening and stretching routine (Those of you that know me, know I have a very cranky back). I literally wake up and walk downstairs without doing anything else. The entire routine takes about 15 minutes. This little routine has been a huge help to my day. My back doesn't feel (or act) any better, but I feel much calmer as I drive to the office! This new morning routine has been a game-changer for me.

Why don't you try a new routine in the morning that does not include work, labor, or your job. What hurt can it do?
Read The Article

Lessons From TikTok

I did it. I broke down last week and created a TikTok account. My algorithm so far is dominated by farming videos. I LOVE to learn how farming is done in 2022. For those of you who don't know, I grew up working on my grandparent's dairy farm. I lived less than a mile from the farm, so I spent every summer, most weekends, and even a lot of school nights on the farm. I am very familiar with how a small farm the 1970s and 1980s. I loved the farm. I loved doing things that farmers do. My grandmother always told me that I romanticized the farm...and I did, and I do!

Here is what I have picked up on the farm trends from TikTok.
  1. There is no such thing as small farms anymore. My grandfather milked about 40 cows on 200 acres...he probably would not be able to succeed in today's farming world because he would be too small. It seems like data and algorithms dominate the farming sphere.
  2. Everything is so fast! The machinery farmers use now is designed to get the job done as quickly as possible. I can remember my grandfather taking a nap under a hay wagon after he raked a field and was waiting for the hay to dry. Today's farmers seem in such a hurry that I suspect naps in the hayfield are an endangered activity.
  3. There is still a pride in working the land. It is so obvious the people creating the videos view farming as a lifestyle, not a job. My grandfather used to put people into categories when he was judging them. Anyone associated with farming was at the top of the list. He was a steward of his land and knew every square inch of the farm. He passed his pride of the land to his eldest grandson, that's for sure!
It seems to me that education parallels farming. Education suffers from too much data crunching, we are in such a hurry that we can't even have a recess for the kids and time for teachers to go to the restroom, and despite all of this, we are incredibly proud of the work we do. 

Farmers and unlikely match!

I wrote an article for the Peabody Journal a few years back comparing farming and education policy in the 20th century. You might find it interesting.
Read My Article
Four Questions Great Leaders Can Answer

This comes from a video from Peter Fuda. 

"As a leader of any team or organization there are four questions that you really need to be able to answer in order to help your people achieve what's possible. The mediocre leaders will be able to answer two questions: where are we headed and what are we going to do to get there? Essentially they are able to articulate the vision question where are we headed and the strategy question what are our priorities, what are we going to do, what are we not going to do.

The good leaders will answer a third question. They will answer the how question. How are we going to be on this journey? Is it okay to achieve our objectives by any means necessary, Enron-style, or are we going to have some values and standards of behavior? Are we going to try and represent a particular kind of culture as we pursue these aspirations.

But the really great leaders answer a fourth question. They answer the question why. Why do we exist above and beyond making money? What is the unique contribution that we are here to make? Who would miss us if we were gone? So they answer the question of purpose for themselves, for their team and for their organization."

I don't know about you, but I spend some time in each category of leader.
Read The Article
Book Of The Week
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