Hey Bevin! Do me a favor and make at least one ripple today!

One of our well-loved division leaders once shouted this to me in passing, and needless to say, it resonated. In this casual, impromptu moment, I believe he was alluding to the ripple effect. The ripple effect poses that a single action or event can, in turn, create a series of other actions or events.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa

As educators, we are a single entity within an extremely large, complex system. For this reason, making real, positive change can sometimes appear to be a daunting task. Too often, we fall into the it’s beyond my control trap and feel powerless.

However, part of the beauty of the education system is its interconnectedness. We have the unique ability to impact countless people every day. Let’s spread joy and knowledge daily! Also, let’s remember that no matter what role we hold within education, we DO have power, and that power derives from empowering one another.

So, how can we be more conscious and strategic in this effort to create these said ripples? Here are a few quick ideas:

  1. Build Your Network: Keep the company of people who inspire and challenge you! Make it a habit to engage with influential doers. Who is your go-to crew? As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
  2. Pick Three:  Have an innovative idea? Come across a useful resource? Share it! Pass it on to at least three people via social media, email, or good ole’ fashioned face-to-face communication. Consider those who will find the information especially relevant.
  3. Lean Into Discomfort:  Resistance often accompanies change. Welcome crucial conversations! View them as opportunities to further the dialogue in the spirit of growth.
  4. Walk the Walk:  Practice what you preach! Enough said.
  5. Heart Your Brand: What is it that you’re, at least in a sense, trying to sell? What is the purpose? How can you help others truly see and personally connect to your vision? Most importantly, what value does it bring others? Think strategically about the BIG and little things as you prepare to roll out a new idea. Marketing matters.
  6. Observe Your Environment:  Learn the inner workings of your environment. How are decisions typically made? Who are the key players? The ‘system’ is in place for a reason, and we have to learn how to effectively navigate it.
  7. Step it Up:  So, you’ve posed an idea that was well-received. What now? Plan next steps. Run with it while you have a little momentum. Remember, time is of the essence!
  8. Helping Hand:  Go out of your way to do one kind thing for a mere acquaintance every day. That person may decide to pay it forward, and this can do wonders for school culture.
  9. Compliment a Colleague:  We all carry baggage. Behind every smile, there lies a battle of some kind. Take a moment to share a few kind words. It could change the scope of someone’s day.
  10. To-Do List:  Mundane tasks often infiltrate our to-do lists. However, we must not forget to prioritize the things that matter most. Why not add “make a ripple” to your daily list of tasks?

What ripples are you making or hoping to make to inspire positive change in education? Please share!

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