Kelly Camak


In Reflections on January 7, 2018 at 11:13 am

It was a year ago that the last post on this blog was published. It was a reflection on actualization, we are the ones…  but the trust in that faltered. Like many educators, there was a time of rest, renewal and inspiration. There was a call to action. And then the school year restarted and the ability to hold that light weakened within the fires burning day to day, week to week. This fracture in focus and commitment is part of the tumultuous experience of the educator heart. We know what we want, we know what is needed, we know what we can do to support the need. And then we are thrust in a storm that scatters that confidence and we grow exhausted in the journey towards the vision we hold and the reality we are in.

The whole teacher heart is a strong, life giving organ. It is wise and full; ready to give continuously and participate in a cycle of giving and receiving from the learning community. It has a clear role and a rhythm.

The whole teacher heart is rare. The sustainability of the whole teacher heart is difficult. A broken heart cannot mend another broken heart. A fractured heart cannot build a whole heart in another. A ruptured heart cannot retain the substance to share with others. The fractured and vulnerable heart is what beats most in schools, classrooms and communities. This must change in order for our youth to grow, learn and develop with whole hearts. Wholehearted people are committed citizens, loyal friends, driven workers, quality colleagues and friendly neighbors. A wholehearted graduate is the definition of most graduate profile descriptions.

The betrayal in school systems is in the “we ask of you what we are not ourselves” culture. We ask from our students a standard we cannot maintain ourselves. We ask our students to believe and learn into their ability. We expect their trust in the process and in that demand, we must also actualize the fact that just like our students, the answer is not in someone or something else. We are the ones.

In order for us (students and teachers) to be what we are waiting for, we must be in our whole hearts. We must ask with our whole heart. We must do with our whole heart. We must listen with our whole heart. We must reject with our whole heart. We must share our whole heart. We must hold with our whole heart. We must maintain our whole heart. We must be patient with our whole heart. And we must continue the journey with our whole heart.




We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

In Reflections on January 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm

2017 begins in a tumultuous storm. The swells of lies, disruption and hopelessness bash against hope, truth and peace. It lacks visible leadership. The wind is shifting and we must hold steady and firm in our values to stand in this storm and ensure it passes without us getting lost.

There is no more important time than now to inform and lead our young people inside this storm. They, most of all, need us. They need to see the truth. They need to feel our authentic experiences. They need to learn to trust their selves, and practice trust in others. They need to see the alternative to the mess they are in.

Let us look to the bright spots that can show us opportunity in these dark times. Let us build community with our comrades standing firm in the storm. Let us turn to each other, to our communities and trust our inner voices to hold onto the thread of our core values.

First: our anthem. There is no greater soul in music than our dear sisters Sweet Honey in the Rock- they will chant our march of self-fulfillment. They will call out to our youth, affirming their contributions of being in the world to change the world.

Second: listen. Listen to voice inside you. You must hear the sound of the genuine in you. Listen to the sound of the genuine in others. Celebrate the genuine in community. Build the diverse and authentic voices to be the movement our young people need.

Third: be the change. Do the hard work every day. Take time to build capacity in others. Trust in our young people. Show them the path and invite them to build a new trail, a new way. It is the time for all of us to lead and follow.

We need this New Year to be our guide.

Let us renew our teacher manifesto.

Let us trust that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Making it Meaningful, Manageable and Measurable

In Reflections on September 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

The new school year is in full swing. And so are many of our new ideas, initiatives and goals. As we adjust back into sustaining the energy to teach, we try to connect our “off season” learning to the exhaustive everyday practice.

The trick is to weave the vision into the practice. The magic is putting the ideas into action in a way that inspires and affirms the possibility we entered the school year with.

Here’s the process:

Part 1: Meaning. Now that kids are in the seats, classroom cultures are being formed and school-wide goals are established- can you still find the meaning in the ideas, initiatives and goals you had entering the year? Can you see the connection and benefit? Does the meaning go beyond you- and can you see it clearly in the needs of your students?

Yes? Great. Move onto the next part.

No? Also great. Step back from those ideas and reflect; what is calling your energy?

Part 2: Manageable. Time is always short. Schedules are rushed. You are demanded in multiple places at the same time. Can you find a way to continue the work necessary towards the ideas, initiatives and goals you had entering the year? Is it manageable for you to shift your schedule or add to your schedule to honor the integrity of your necessary work and the new ideas, initiatives and goals?

Yes? Great. Move onto the next part.

No? Still Great. You are aware of what is in your locus of control. You don’t compromise the quality of your work and continued learning. Look for opportunities to adjust or further develop these meaningful ideas, initiatives and goals and make them more manageable this year and beyond.

Part 3: Measurable. The meaning is clear. The time is available. Now- how will you know your ideas, initiatives and goals are benefiting students? What will you measure to prove effectiveness? What evidence will you collect? Can you share how your work towards the ideas, initiatives and goals achieved the intended outcomes?

Yes? Great! Get started and share your improvement journey with us!

No? Great! You have an important task ahead of you to find ways to measure success of what you now to be meaningful and manageable to support student improvement. The experience of measurement finding will undoubtably grow your thinking to even better ideas, initiatives and goals.

This is how learning happens.