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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell


Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Last year I didn’t consciously choose one word, however a word chose me – passion. In my fist blog post, 2018: A Watershed Year, I wrote about how reading Kids Deserve It, by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, reignited my passion for teaching; reading Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, lit a fire under my passion for being a teacher; and reading Be REAL: Educate from the Heart, by Tara Martin, stoked the embers and relit my passion for being a leader. So really, what else could my One Word have been?

This year is different though. This year I have put some thought into my choice. I’ve thought about my life journey so far - what I’ve experienced, how I’ve felt, where I’ve been – and where I want my journey to go in the future. And in light of all that, I’ve chosen AUTHENTIC as my #OneWord2019.

The dictionary definition of authentic is: of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine, and that’s exactly what I want – I want to be genuine; I don’t want to be a copy of anyone else – I want to be me! It’s taken me a while to work out who I really am – I’ve been plagued with self-doubt, I’ve suffered bouts of depression, I struggle with anxiety, and I’ve had to make some choices and changes in the way I live my life. Now that I've been through all of that and accepted who I am, I realise the only option I have is to be is authentic.

Authentic Self

I need to be my authentic self in order for others to truly see me. I need to be my authentic self in order to be happy, and healthy. I need to be my authentic self in order to achieve my goals. I simply NEED to be my authentic self.

I also want to help others be their authentic selves too. I want to support, encourage and motivate them to know, understand and accept who they are, deep down on the inside. I want to give them courage to speak up, speak out, and speak their truth. I want to amplify their voices and their impact. I know the importance of all of these things, and I want to help others know that too.

Authentic Learning

As educators, adults, and humans, we know that we learn more when what we are learning is of interest and relevant to our lives. I don’t want my students simply being compliant in class – I want them fully engaged and immersed in learning experiences! I want them to want to learn. I want them getting the absolute most out of each and every day at school. Therefore, my goal is to provide authentic learning experiences for my students – I want it to be real!

Authentic Relationships

We can all remember a teacher who impacted our lives, in a positive or a negative way. For me, I remember the name of a teacher who had a negative impact. There was nothing overt that she did – basically, I thought she didn’t like me. Not only me, but that she didn’t like teaching. However, the lack of a relationship with this teacher resulted in my worst year of school academically – I didn’t really try as I didn’t see the point. This was in Grade 5, so I was old enough to start to realise that it didn’t really matter if the teacher liked me or not, but I wasn’t mature enough to fully understand that, or to draw on my own inner motivation and drive.

Last year, relationships was one of my ‘big rocks’, and connecting with my students and developing meaningful relationships with them was a definite highlight (you can read more about my 2018 Highlights here), so I will continue fostering and cultivating those this year. However, I won’t only be focusing on authentic relationships with my students – I want to cultivate authentic relationships with my colleagues and my PLN (YOU!). I want to be my authentic self with others and truly connect. I want to be present in those relationships and interactions. This is where the focus for my family comes in – I am going to ensure that there is time for us to spend together and that I am fully ‘there’ during that time (this is one of my Balance Like a Pirate goals - read more here).

Authentic Self

Authentic Learning

Authentic Relationships

I’m excited about the year ahead and all it will bring, and I’m looking forward to being AUTHENTIC in every way!


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