Where Everybody Knows Your Name?

My family and I just returned from a week of luxury aboard the Disney Fantasy, a cruise ship with the Disney Cruise Line. We were thrilled to be able to spend time as a family, completely removed from work, social media, and the stress of day-to-day life.

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Disney Fantasy in port in Cozumel, Mexico

From the moment we stepped off the airplane and into the Disney transportation portion of Orlando International Airport, we were treated to the Disney experience. Because it’s just the way I am, I couldn’t ignore the connections between the Disney experience and the experience I try to give students at school each day.

Of course, the customer service was superb and the amenities were outstanding. Disney pulled out all the stops; they went all out to ensure that our experience made our family feel special and made us want to come back. Our schools should be like Disney for our students. Every child, yes, even those children, should feel special, cared for, and like we want them to come back.

What stood out the most to me was the relationships formed while on the ship. In just seven nights, we formed bonds with other families that will last a lifetime. My children were devastated to leave the characters and the fun, but they were also sad to leave our stateroom host and servers! How does Disney form these relationships so quickly?! Two big things stood out to me!

§- The Power of A Name -§

It started from the moment we embarked on the ship. We were greeted instantly and were asked our family name. Upon entering the ship’s atrium for the first time, we were introduced to the cast members and crew of the Disney Fantasy and were met with applause. A crew member took us to the side and gave us a quick rundown of logistical information and invited us to the Sail Away Party later that afternoon. After asking if we had any questions (we did not), she encouraged us to explore the ship and shared where to go if questions should arise later. What a greeting!

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Our amazing stateroom host, Narciso

If you ever doubt the power of learning names, let me share this short story…

Narciso was our stateroom host. Every time we ran into him in the hallway, our conversation went something like this:

Narciso: Good morning, Alicia! How did you sleep?

Alicia: Great, thank you! How was your evening?

N: It was good! Are you planning to visit the island today?

A: We’re hoping to. We didn’t plan an excursion but we hope to check out the shops nearby.

N: Sounds great! I hope you and your family have a great day. Is there anything I can do to make your stay more comfortable?

A: No, thank you.

N: Will Bailey or Sophie be on the top bunk tonight? (He placed the stuffed animals they sleep with on the bed when he turned them down each night.)

And the conversation would continue. He was exceptional! On a ship full of strangers, it felt like home because someone knew our name, and greeted us by name. It had a calming effect that I wasn’t expecting. I realize that if I feel more comfortable in a space upon hearing my name, our students likely do as well.

§- Likes and Dislikes -§

At our first dinner our server and assistant server introduced themselves and called us by name, asking what we preferred to be called. They already knew our names because they had taken the time to view our information before we joined them. Our servers had between 24-30 people to attend to throughout the cruise during our seating, with another 24-30 at the other dinner seating. They had our names memorized and quickly learned what we liked and disliked in meal preferences.

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Danijel (server), the Faulkners, the Rays, and Clifton (assistant server)

Now I don’t, for even a second, believe Clifton just remembered that my oldest daughter wanted Sprite and my youngest daughter wanted water with extra ice nor do I believe that Danijel remembered that I like my sirloin cooked medium and my husband is an adventurous eater. They took the time to write it down, jotting a note in their record so they could refer to it the next night. How often do we do that with our students? If you are a classroom teacher, I encourage you to make a list of your students and write as much as you can about each one from memory, and add to it as the year progresses. Because I fully believe Dave Burgess‘s quote “Inspiration without implementation is a waste,” I will use a <large> notebook (I serve approximately 400 students and 30 educators) and create a page for each one, adding notes about their likes and dislikes as our relationships continue to form. Is that going to take time? Of course! Will it be worth it? I believe so.

Why do I think it’ll be worth it? I just experienced 7 nights with people I’ve never met before who took the time to pay attention to the little things and get to know me as a person. I never felt like just another family on vacation. I never want my students to feel as if they’re “just another student.” I want each one to feel special. That starts with knowing their name, pronouncing it correctly, and taking the time to learn their likes and dislikes to make a genuine connection as quickly as possible.

 

#DBCBookBlogs: Run Like A Pirate

This girl doesn’t run. I don’t mind a swift walk. But run? No. Thank. You. I will cheer my heart out for you and encourage you the whole way, but I won’t be running beside you.

So why in the world would I be pumped up to read Adam Welcome’s book, Run Like A Pirate? It’s obviously about running. Adam set an outrageous goal to run a marathon each month in 2017… yes, as in 26.2 miles. That kind of marathon. Not a watch every episode of The Office marathon (those are my kind of marathons). Adam talks about his journey through these marathons in the entire book. So, it’s a running book, right?

Wrong! So, so wrong! This book is about digging deep within yourself to achieve the seemingly impossible. If you want a swift kick in the rear, I’m going to recommend you go right to this link… go ahead… here it is again… click Buy Now. Get a copy of Adam Welcome‘s Run Like A Pirate and dig in. Good luck putting it down once you start!

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“When you want something bad enough, and you set the goals high enough, you’re bound to transform into something you’ve never been before.”

“When you wait,  you find reasons why you can’t. Why you won’t. Why you shouldn’t. We need to just do.”

“Remember your dreams and forget what other people say about them.”

“…the only person able to stop me was me. Don’t call me crazy. I just happen to like bold ideas.”

“I believe in you. I know you can do it. I know you will be successful. I know you will figure it out. If you start.”

“Do something that’s hard, something you never thought you could finish, and see what happens.”

“No more excuses and forget about your fear.”

“Many before you have done it. Now it’s your turn.”

Does any of that sound like a running book to you? Well, good… because it’s not. just. about. running.

This book is about setting goals, putting in the work, and achieving your dreams. It’s about the struggle. This book shows us that it is about the journey and not the destination. If nothing else, the quotes referenced above, Adam’s words in the book, are enough to make you think you’re the Kool-Aid man. You know what I’m talking about… the big red jug of Kool-Aid personified that runs through brick walls and says, “oh yeah” in the commercials. Yep, that’s pretty much how I felt the entire time I read the book.

What I love about this book the most is that I can relate to Adam’s commitment to a goal that others thought was crazy. My journey through #DBC50Summer this year was crazy according to others. Heck, there were times it was crazy according to me! Like Adam, there were times I thought about quitting, times I sacrificed sleep, times I wondered if the end would ever come. But then, like Adam… when the end came, I was emotional. So incredibly emotional. As I finished the 50th book, Jennifer Burdis‘s The EduNinja Mindset, I cried. I just let the tears flow. I’m not sure why I was so emotional, but it was one of those I really did this moments. Mentally, it was simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating to read 50 books in 101 days. But like Adam says,

“People are in charge of their lives and in charge of what they do with their time. Nobody is dictating how you spend your time, how often you do something, with what regularity, with whom, or when and where. If you’re pointing a finger and it’s not at yourself then something needs to change.”

The challenge here is the implementation. See, in Ditch that Textbook by Matt Miller, I said that I would let go of fear and just do it. In Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess, I took away his quote, “It’s not supposed to be easy; it’s supposed to be worth it.” In Lead Like A Pirate by Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess, my implementation is to be relentless. For Stories from Webb by Todd Nesloney, I put my biggest dreams out there – I want to write a book. My plan was to wait until I finished each of the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc books for #DBCBookBlogs, as well as the IMpress book blogs to begin writing.

Adam has convinced me… there is no more waiting. I can’t keep putting this off. Ultimately, I’d love to have it published. But for now, it’s for me. I am going to tell my story. Adam shares with us that saying we’re going to do something means nothing until we have the actions to go along with it. Anyone can say they’re going to run a marathon every month, but not very many actually do it. Adam followed through. He inspired me. I am going to follow through. I’ve talked and talked about this dang book. Now it’s time to write it. I’ve slept with the handwritten outline on the nightstand beside my bed since late May. It’s almost November. It’s time. No more finding excuses.

Thank you, Adam, for kicking my tail. Thank you for writing a book that is not just about running, but about the journey. You are 100% right when you said it’s not about the finish line. It’s about all the times between the start and the finish. For me, that means it’s not about a contract or a publisher. It’s about writing my story. Thinking about it that way takes the [majority of] the fear out of the equation. It’s still scary, but now I’m refocused and writing for me.

I’m going to do something big, something that makes me nervous. And I’m going to start now. Well…after these final two current DBC, Inc books are completed this weekend. Share what your big goals are in the flipgrid designed by Andrea Paulakovich! She and I copilot this space for the purpose of global collaboration on all DBC books! Find an accountability partner there! Follow along with the journey of others using the hashtag #RunLAP. Check out Adam’s website here and subscribe to his YouTube channel here. If you want a dose of Adam’s incredibly inspiring tweets, follow him on Twitter at @mradamwelcome! Here are some of my tweets about #RunLAP:

You know how I said a long time ago that I’ve read (or reread) the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc books in the order they were released… well, I may have made one small exception… book 56 is nothing like any other book ever put out by the incredible powerhouse that is Dave and Shelley Burgess and I just couldn’t wait to read this book when it was released in July. The teacher in me is kicking in hardcore and getting ready to have so much fun with Dolphins in Trees by Aaron Polansky.

#DBCBookBlogs: Talk To Me

June 13, 2018 – I took an insane dive and “cannonballed in” (thanks, Tara) to beginning #DBC50Summer. I had no idea what it would look like, but just knew I wanted to get this crazy idea out there.

June 18, 2018 – I’m sitting in a hotel lobby enjoying a #tlap chat and see this tweet pop up in my notifications. I was blown away that someone had already picked up on the #DBC50Summer challenge and was eager to share what they learned from the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc books as well. That someone was Andrea Paulakovich, who was then an instructional coach from Kansas, and is now Assistant Director of Learning Services.

June 19, 2018 – After exchanging links to our respective blogs, Andrea was ALL IN! It was her amazing idea to add in the use of Flipgrid only a few days after #DBC50Summer started.

The rest… as they say… is history. Andrea and I have chatted multiple times on Google Hangout and via FaceTime. This lady is amazing & her story is so powerful! I can’t wait to see what is in store for her because it’s going to be epic when it happens!

From this tweet, #tlapsisters was born, ha! Fast forward to August 26 – Andrea sent me a DM about co-writing a blog as we were both reading The Wild Card by Hope & Wade King. Knowing that I didn’t have the ability to add anything else to my plate, and I didn’t want to let her down, I suggested that we wait until #DBC50Summer was over and instead we co-author a post on book 54, Talk to Me by Kim Bearden.

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We set a date to finish the book and Andrea created this incredible Google Doc with all of her notes and ideas for our blog post. (She takes the most detailed notes of anyone I’ve ever seen; further proof that she’s superwoman.) I hopped into the doc last night and I swear, magic happened. Writing side-by-side, literally, in the Doc was incredible. Seeing Andrea’s thoughts form on the page was inspiring and I highly recommend you go check out her other #DBCBookBlogs on her website! Andrea put her amazing artistic spin on our thoughts and created this magazine on yumpu.com (super cool tool, by the way).  You can see the final product below, or use this link if the embedded file is giving you trouble. (You can also look at the PDF of the magazine.)

https://www.yumpu.com/en/embed/view/Eb8kA7UH5gBI6ztc

Didn’t Andrea do a terrific job putting this all together?! I am constantly blown away by her! What a pleasure to co-author this blog with my friend! (Go see Andrea’s story behind Talk to Me on her website here!)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Talk to Me by Kim Bearden! I felt as though she reached through the pages and hugged me multiple times. She gives practical advice on effective communication, not just within education, but for every relationship. Her words about sharing appreciation and validation with others reminded me so much of Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess‘s Anchors of Appreciation in Lead Like A Pirate. I know that I appreciate others, but do others know that I appreciate them? My implementation plan is to show as often and outwardly as possible that I appreciate actions and people as those moments come along.

Follow along with the conversation using the hashtag #talktome and check out Kim’s website here. For more information on the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA, check out their website here. Finally, head over to the DBC, Inc website and preview the book for yourself! I know you will love it! After you’ve bought and read it (because you will), share your thoughts on the flipgrid co-piloted by Andrea and me. This collaborative space is available for anyone around the world to share their thoughts on all DBC books!

Book 55 in the DBC, Inc line is Run Like A Pirate by Adam Welcome (yes, that Adam… from Kids Deserve It – woo hoo). This book is going to get me to the core; I can already tell. I believe it’s going to be just the kick in the tail that I need to get me to stop talking about my dreams, and actually taking steps to make them come true. And I’m scared. to. death. I’ve heard it said that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. So now, I’m going to read his book and do all I can to make my dreams a reality.