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This book has opened the door to many conversations in our district and the author's words in each chapter ring true for that time of year. We have had teachers take the ideas, strategies and resources that fit into their secondary classrooms for check ins, reflections and resiliency building tools. We have even used the keywords to help create our monthly district wide themes which supports our SEL work. My own copy of the text and workbook are dog eared, stained, overly sticky noted and highlighted. I keep coming back to the resources for check ins, key learning strategies and discussions and closure activities. The two most used things are the Spheres of Influence and Core Values. My goal for next year is to dive more into the story chapter along with the Coaching for Equity book.
Great book so far. We are using it for our staff book club. Many launch points for discussion - sharing stories, making connections. Not a ‘self-help’ in an ‘I’ve got all the answers’ way - real stories and experiences shared. Definitely transforms my thinking.
In February 2019 I was blessed to attend "The Art of Coaching Conference" with Elena Aguilar. While at the retreat, I purchased her book "Onward" my shameless way of thinking I could get an autograph and a picture. Little did I know this book would influence me as a parent, as a partner, and as a professional! Please bear with me as I attempt to find the correct words to convey my enthusiasm about this work. This lady is brilliant! Her book provides a “Calendar of Learning” best described as a reflective journey for educators. I must take a few lines to summarize the chapters so that you may feel my overall excitement about the layout of this book. Each chapter represented a month and shared feelings, struggles and action steps beginning not in January or September as most educators would expect but JUNE! YEP, June!
The calendar presented as follows: June – Know yourself, July – Understand Emotions, August – Tell empowering stories, September- Build Community, October- Be here now (be present for the moment), November – Take care of yourself, December – Focus on the bright spots, January – Cultivate compassion, February – Be a learner, March – Play and Create, April- Ride the waves of change, and May – Celebrate and appreciate. Elena goes further to discuss our individual resilience, organizational conditions and systemic conditions as teacher leaders. She references Frederick Douglass early on in the book with the quote, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” I rephrased this statement to drive my professional practices to state “Leadership concedes nothing without a demand.” As a classroom leader, there will be struggles and difficulties but we must continue to press forward to meet the needs and demands in our schools.
I am still digging into this book month after month, discovering new things. A must-read!
After reading Onward and participating in the Onward Book Club, I was able to benefit both personally and professionally. Personally, I used specific strategies to build and cultivate my own emotional resilience, especially while working remotely during the pandemic. I also shared strategies with friends to build and cultivate their resilience. Professionally I structured sessions for instructional coaches around the 12 principles and provided strategies and activities for them to use on themselves and with teachers when coaching them. It's truly been life changing work. The book is easy to read and grounded in research. Aguilar also weaves in her own storytelling which authenticates the necessity of the principles both personally and professionally because her experiences allow us to connect and reflect on our work.
I am one of 12 full time teacher mentors in my school district. Last April my department purchased this book, so we could start an ONWARD PLC book study as a way to stay united during the pandemic and remote learning. The 13 of us have been meeting bi monthly and sharing the facilitation of the meetings for over a year. The resilience strategies have been included in our monthly mentor professional development for our 200 one on one trained mentors in our district. We have purchased 200 copies of ONWARD to provide our 1:1 trained mentors next school year. We are continuing to move our professionals ONWARD with resilience strategies. ONWARD is a "life preserver" for educators. Kristen
This book is a fantastic resource for educators at all levels who are finding themselves on the brink of burnout, especially after this past year trying to support kids during the pandemic. It provides strategies for managing stress through resilience. I appreciate that it also provides a balance between more traditional and holistic approaches to managing stress and finding your resilience. I will continue to use this as I work in my district level wellness role to promote self care for my most selfless teachers and staff who always give more to their students and tend to neglect their wellbeing.
I am a teacher specialist who works with new teachers and their mentors. This book and its workbook were very useful for me as I guided teachers through their first year (and helped mentors as they coached their mentees).
To be honest, I used many of the activities on my own and with my team. The school year framework of the book made it easy to access activities for each month for our team meetings.
This is an excellent book to use to anchor a full year book study as each chapter is linked to a particular month. The stories referenced are especially relevant for educators in the field and allow for you to deeply connect with the themes and content. I have used it for a whole school study as well as for mentor/new teacher professional development. The accompanying Onward Workbook is a great way to take the experience to the next level and truly interact with the habits that are introduced in each chapter.