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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell


In 2018, my one word chose me - it was passion. It came about after reading Kids Deserve It, by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, reignited my passion for teaching; after reading Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, lit a fire under my passion for being a teacher; and after reading Be REAL: Educate from the Heart, by Tara Martin, stoked the embers and relit my passion for being a leader. This was the subject of my very first blog post, 2018: A Watershed Year.

Last year, I intentionally chose my one word - authentic. I reflected on 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 that word resonated strongly with me about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life. I continued my journey of self-acceptance as I strove to be my authentic self; I was deliberate in the choices I made to ensure authentic learning experiences for those I serve; and I consciously cultivated authentic relationships with family, friends, colleagues and students. My original #OneWord2019 goals (read them here) evolved as I began a leadership position and I sought to be an Authentic Leader. Authenticity will always be my objective as I continue to aspire to be authentic in all areas - threads can even be found woven within my #OneWord2020 and the goals therein.

So, what is the one word I have chosen to guide and drive me in 2020? That word is CREATE.

The definition of create is: to bring (something) into existence; cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions.

It's time for me to move beyond mostly consuming, and focus more wholly on creating: community; connections; content; and calm.

Create Community

I will be deliberate about fostering community within my classroom - a community who have a passion for kindness; a community that is inclusive and empathetic; a community that is safe and supports each other; a community of learners; and a community of citizens. I will cultivate community within my cohort and school, with a focus on positivity, excellence, trust, team work, passion and enthusiasm (after all, I am a PIRATE educator!).

Create Connections

I will be intentional about connecting with others - my students and their parents, my colleagues, and my PLN. I will be resolute in nurturing the whole child and connecting learning - ensuring it is relevant, meaningful, purposeful and empowers students. I will actively seek opportunities for connecting outside of my classroom which will offer myself, my students and my colleagues new and unique learning opportunities.

Create Content

I will consciously plan and design engaging content to regularly share with others, starting with using this fantastic tool Jennifer Hogan shared to help plan my blog posts. I will commit to completing a project I began last year by the time #dbcPIRATEcon rolls around - which, at the time of writing this post, is only 5 months, 4 days and 4 hours away (yes I have a countdown happening!). This is one I need your help with though - please hold me accountable to this goal and check in on my progress. This is a raw and real project, which requires significant vulnerability, so your encouragement along the way will help ensure I maintain my resolve in sharing.

Create Calm

I will purposely create space and time in my life for calm. I will seek balance (time to revisit those #BalanceLAP goals) and ensure that my health and well-being remain a priority. Even though this is listed last, it is by no means the least important. In fact, with the above goals requiring much time, effort and energy, it is essential that creating calm is a priority.

May 2020 be a creative year for you - full of new experiences, discoveries and transformation.


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