Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family,
December always gets me – in all the ways. This December marks the third anniversary of my father’s unexpected death and a complicated time for this dual-religion big-blended family. On top of emotions, it’s also full of logistics. It is a wind-up (holidays!), a power-down (that inbox!), a clean-out (my desk!), and a plan-ahead (those meetings!) – all at once! I mean, ever since Together Teammate Chrystie taught me how to CUT UP MY CALENDAR to connect 2021 and 2022, I look ahead with both hope and caution, but still feel very much rooted in the present moment.
You see, after a two-year hiatus, I’ve thrown myself back into Together Trail races. Don’t worry, my 44-year-old self is not landing on the podium (though I DO have big goals to always place in the bottom of the top third of my age group!), but during a particularly challenging, 31-degree hilly 5-miler, I reflected on why I love the trail so much more than the road. On the trail, you have no choice but to stay focused on what is RIGHT in front of you–roots, rocks, creeks, and slippery patches. If you stop paying attention for even a second, it can be treacherous. At the same time, it’s also critical to glance ahead and check the terrain, track mileage to pace yourself, peek at the view, and make sure everyone around you is okay. It’s a constant exercise in balancing complete presence with taking stock of what’s ahead. And that is how I feel about December. Playlists help. Stay focused, but pick your head up to look around when you can.
Speaking of staying present, if you’re charged with any end-of-year projects (I’m thinking band concerts, fundraisers, and family events), do pick up a copy of our newest micro-book, The Together Project Manager. Yes, I’ll keep writing the “macro” hefty 400-pagers every 4-5 years, but I also like putting out the shorter, fast reads over at The Together Press. These are optimized for Kindle download, priced lower (Unless you order a hard copy, in which case Amazon is going to charge you for that color printing. Sorry!), and meant to be read in one sitting. So. . . if I were to get another micro-book out in 2022, what should it be? Together Troop Leader? Together Parent-Teacher Conference? Together Special Educator? Tell me all of your ideas here. Speaking of new books, two of my favorite people-friends-authors have new publications on pre-order. Elena’s new one looks sooooo good and Matt’s work for leaders is stellar.
PS My friend and former boss, Dacia Toll, just launched an exciting new venture called Stepmojo Education, an online learning platform that seeks to radically expand access to high-quality, high-interest courses for all students. Dacia is looking to build out her team as Stepmojo launches in January! She is hiring for some exciting roles, including Chief Learning Officer and Director of Learning.
PPS I anticipate starting a Maia’s Mailbox micro newsletter in the new year. It will give people the opportunity to write in with their Togetherness challenges or dilemmas, and I’ll write a personal response! You know, things like. . . How do I transition from paper to digital Together Tools? What are the best snacks for sustaining myself during long PD days? How can I help my team plan ahead better? I’m looking for people to get the party started! Complete this quick Google form, and you could get some advice AND help others too!
Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)
- Still finishing up (starting?) your holiday shopping? We’re back with yet another Together Gift Guide, with recs ranging from analog colorful pens to digital notebooks!
- Together Tote?! What do YOU carry around during the workday? Check out Josh O.’s Together Tote and enter our giveaway!
- Reader Recommendation: Even with most schools back to in-person learning, parents can still use resources for how to best support their students! KIPP MA’s Family University is a beautiful way to do just that.
Top Together Tributes
- Top Fun and Musical Way to Prep Your Kitchen for the Holidays: You’ll feel great after you work through these steps for prepping for the holidays, musical accompaniment included. It’s a Holiday Clean-Along!Should I make a Holiday Together-Along?
- Top Way to Reclaim your Weeknights: I get excited by a good alliterative tool, so I was eager to read about this Task Triangle concept. Here’s to taking some pressure off our weekends, and enjoying those weeknights a little more!
- Top Skills for Coaching Perfectionists: Do you work with teachers who are suffering from perfectionism? This great blog post (part 1 of a 3-part series) from my friend Elena Aguilar reminds us that perfectionism can be unhealthy for teachers and those around them!
- Top Reflection and Research on Energy Levels: Do you feel the pull of that mid-afternoon nap? Marvel at that colleague who seems to always be high-energy? Here’s a fascinating article on energy levels and what we can (and can’t) do to change them.