Goal 12: Define and Spread Your Message #30GoalsEdu

Goal 12 of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators! Click the link to find out more about the new changes to this year’s 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

“Your life is your message to the world. Make it inspiring.”~ Lorrin L. Lee

In Goal 11, we talked about our impact as educators on 1000s of lives throughout our lifetime. Realizing this impact, I believe it is important that we begin to craft our message that inspires our learners and those around us. In Goal 1, you began to craft the foundations of this message by outlining your beliefs about learning and teaching in your Me Manifesto. Now that you know what you believe in, it is time to refine that message and come up with a plan on how to inspire our students with this message. You might be wondering what I am getting at, which is why I am going to share with you the roots of this goal. This goal was partly inspired by a conversation I had last year with a New York teacher, Mr. Matthew Ray. While at last year’s #140Edu conference in NYC, Matty Ray and I talked about reaching students and making an impact. Matty Ray decided his message for the year in August 2011 would be “Field of Dreams” and his classroom as well as activities were designed to spread this message. You can read about his journey and the impact this had on his teaching and his students in his post and blog. Matty Ray has even posted pictures of the activities and pendants he made for his students. After revisiting Matty Ray’s blog to see the results of his vision and message, I was inspired to create this as a goal because often as teachers we allow what is in our heart to remain there when it needs to be let loose and when it is let loose, trust me it becomes so much more than we could have envisioned and it sets our souls on fire!
Another example of a great educator spreading a message is Angela Maiers. Her message is You Matter. She wrote the You Matter Manifesto then ensured it spread throughout the world. Recently, she was speaking to an audience about her message and several kids surprised her by holding up posters that said, “You Matter!” Angela’s message was 2 words long, yet left a lasting impression on 1000s.
Daniel Pink, the inspirational author of Drive, says that there are 2 questions that can change our lives. 1. What is your sentence? 2. Was I better today than yesterday?
So maybe your message is two words, a sentence, or a theme for your school year. And maybe you spread it by speaking to audiences, creating a viral video, wearing it on a shirt, spreading it through bumper stickers, writing about it in a book, or just posting it in large letters in your classroom where your students will be greeted by it every time they walk into your classroom. The message is yours to craft, refine, and deliver.

My Message

Each day I feel blessed I am able to inspire with my message whether it be through The 30 Goals, posting inspirational messages on Facebook, speaking to audiences, or simply having a conversation with another teacher.  Recently, I was at the 140Conference in NYC and got to spread my message on the same stage and day as Deepak Choprah. I was so amazed by the various kids that also spread their messages. Below is the transcript and a short video of the message I shared on that stage. The video posted above is the speech I meant to give but due to nerves it ended up slightly different, but I still think it made an impact with the audience!

 The Transcript of My 140 Conference Speech

Ruth Cohenson (@TeaRoof), a teacher, tweeted, the power we have though networking is humbling, frightening and exciting, use it well. I like to imagine the potential of what a community of passionate people can do. I believe that with the energy and passion we have on social networks we have the ability to transform the world and the world needs a community of passionate individuals like us to infect them. Millions of individuals out there are incarcerated, addicted to drugs, or live in poverty. I think sometimes we become numb to statistics. I don’t know if we feel the weight of a million and today I would like you to try to feel the weight of a million. Growing up I felt the weight of a million. I read there were millions of kids who dropped out of schools, millions who could not read, millions stuck in generational cycles of crime, poverty, drugs, and numbness. As a teacher, I feel the weight of a million. There are millions of teachers and principals standing in classes worldwide and they are burnt out, fed up and this spreads to the millions of students they encounter daily. We have a world where millions fail to live the type of inspirational lives they were supposed to lead so instead they get caught up infecting millions with their uninspired lives. My goal is to inspire a million individuals to begin living their inspirational lives. I am one individual, a teacher, and I believe that education can give people the key to living the inspiring lives they are supposed to lead. This is a message within my soul that I believe I was born to see to fruition and so far I can tell you that within my lifetime I have already impacted hundreds of thousands of individuals. The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators is one of the projects I have that is helping me reach my goal of a million and social media has been the vehicle to reach out and encourage educators worldwide. I began harnessing social media to transform education and lives three years ago. I was a teacher who felt alone. I wanted to connect with other teachers so I googled teachers on twitter. This was in April 2009. I was so excited by the support I received from other educators worldwide 24/7. In May I felt I needed more than 140 characters so I began blogging. January 2010 came around and being a goal oriented person I decided to test the power of my passionate learning network of individuals I had connected with online. I wrote a blog post telling my maybe 50 readers about my idea to crowdsource accomplishing goals and asked them if they would join me in completing 30 short-term goals related to bettering ourselves as teachers. My thinking was that if I at least accomplished one goal then I would have succeeded in accomplishing something for 2010. I would have felt like I made an effort to be a better teacher. By 2011, I completed all 30 goals, blogged about the impact, created a free ebook of the 30 goals and now nearly 9000 educators have accomplished over 60 goals with me. We are in cycle 3, the Dare to Believe cycle because I being just 1 individual Dared to Believe. Since 2010 we have created a facebook community, podcasts, YouTube videos, a google plus community, reflected in 100s of blogs and so much more. We are a community of educators, parents, and students worldwide accomplishing goals and reflecting on their impact in our schools in over 100 countries. We support each other, suggest new ways to look and accomplish the goals, and invite our students to join the challenges.
A little about the challenges. We now have 70 short-term goals we have accomplished. These goals are meant to be accomplished using 1 or 2 class periods. We accomplish the task then reflect on the outcome. We do things like give students reign by allowing them to make all the choices in how they want to learn the topic and the activities they want to do within the class period. Other goals include having a lesson where students get to have fun and play, doing something that engages parents, assessing students beyond a bubble test, getting our students connected to students in another country, asking students about how they learn best, giving students a question that has many answers or no right answer at all. Other goals are meant to fuel our passion for teaching and include writing our Me Manifestos, suggesting ways we can avoid burn out, sharing our personal theme songs, thanking another teacher, or mentoring another individual. These are just a few of the goals we have accomplished. Sounds pretty good knowing there are thousands of teachers out there accomplishing these tasks just because they want to be better educators?
Let’s get back to feeling the weight of a million. Linkedin reported this year that nearly 1 million teachers use its platform. Imagine how many teachers and individuals use larger networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. According to Larry Page, 850 million use Facebook, 140 million use Twitter, 90 million use Google Plus and 800 million videos are watched monthly on Youtube. The 30 Goals Challenge has raised a community of educators who go beyond taking a class period to accomplish goals and use these forums to reflect and spread their message of what great learning is. We have created products that are free to others using these social networks so that we can reach millions and spread the message that through education we can transform individuals to live inspired lives. We use these social networks to pass on our passion to millions.
I will take the rest of this time to accomplish one of the 30 goals which is to share my story. This goal has teachers go back to the root of why they became a teacher in the first place because I believe that after years of teaching we sometimes we need reminders of a time we felt more idealistic. I am latina and a first generation college graduate. My father is in the picture there with my sister Kimmy and me! My grandparents stopped going to school when they were in elementary. My father and mother didn’t graduate from college and neither had their brothers, sisters and generations in our bloodline. My parents had 5 girls in a city with the 2nd largest number of teen pregnancies. My parents told us we would all one day graduate from college and we did. We even got our Master’s and one day I hope to be one of the first in my bloodline to receive my PHd. My parents by just believing in the power of education showed me that passionate individuals cannot only break generational cycles, but perpetuate new cycles. Now my niece, nephew, cousins have been inspired to receive their degrees. They are living inspired lives and their children will as well. I dedicate this message to them.
This is my first class of students. 100 of them in one classroom at an innercity church. The goal was to help them have fun and get a break from their tough home lives. I love that my first teaching job taught me that is what learning should be. Their parents were gang members, drug addicts, and teen parents. My sisters and I volunteered to teach them in 1994 because we believed in the potential of education to break their generational cycles and perpetuate new cycles and every time I walk into a room I remember that. I have the ability that day to perpetuate a new cycle, transform a life. I hope I have accomplished that for you today and to the audience watching. The 30 Goals Challenge for educators has gone beyond me accomplishing goals to living a life where I daily accomplish these goals. I am very blessed to be able to talk to 1000s of teachers daily on social networks and in person train 1000s more in 23 countries since I began this journey a little over 3 years ago. I can’t wait to see what the community of 30 Goals Educators accomplishes in the years ahead. A free ebook is available, just google 30 goals and we are the first to show up. The 30 Goals Challenge book is being published by Eye on Education so keep an eye out! Thank you for your time and I hope you continue to infect millions with your inspired lives and passion.

The Goal

Short-term– Craft your message so that you can share it in the upcoming school year with other educators, parents, and students.
Long-term– Plan classroom activities, the curriculum, books the kids read, the class layout, and anything else you can imagine to reflect your message. Go a step further and have your students as well as you keep a journal of this message so that you can reflect on your growth and impact.

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Important News

  • Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu because we have noticed some sports people using the hashtag. Please make the transition.
  • This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.
  • Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!


Craft, refine, and spread your message.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

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