To Be

Jen Robinson Uncategorized

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“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” Dr. Wayne Dyer

I’ll be honest I create “to do” lists and often times important items will make it on several lists. It’s as though, if I write it on every list, then it will miraculously get done, right? No, now it’s just glaring at me from another list. Ah but the great feeling of success when I actually complete it and get to cross it off five different lists. I’m not sure how you organize life at the end of the school year, but I am struggling.

I struggle to stay focused on the present and what is happening now. I find my mind racing to next year and trying to organize new initiatives and new expectations, while all the while aligning them with what we are already doing. I know I need to stay present and be reflective on this year and these scholars, but how? Days run into each other, moments fade and are wisped away by thoughts and doing.

I found a blog by Nancy Daley that helped me put this chaotic feeling of ending one year and starting another, into perspective. Have you ever heard of a To-Be List? Daley brings up an interesting point, if you measure your day by what you did or did not do, what happens on a not so good day? Do you toss and turn at night, as thoughts of what you did and did not do rustle through your head disrupting your sleep, keeping you awake? I do. I find it hard to simply be and block out what I did or did not complete.

Daley encourages you to find a quiet place at the end of the day and reflect on how the day went and questions that really matter. The questions might look like: How was your day? Were you loving and compassionate? Were you mindful? Did you reach out to support or offer kind words? She invites readers to improve the quality of tomorrow by: 1. Being more conscious of how you are living your life, not what you do or get done. 2. Prioritize your doing. 3. Write a to-be list for tomorrow.

Here is my to-be list for tomorrow:

be mindful of my actions

be supportive of scholars, staff and parents

be appreciative of the amazing people I get to be around

be happy 

be aware of how others respond to my actions

What is on your to-be list?



Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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Comments 3

  1. Sandy Merz

    This is really good advice. A colleague and I talk a lot. Both our lives in flux and will be for a bit more. She’s longed for the chance to just “be” for a bit – but is swamped with the dos. I’m hoping/planning to spend 7nights in Moab this summer, basically the being alive (a whole lot of that will be on the back of my bike). But like I said to my friend, was I want time to complete a thought, or better yet to practice some serious, deep, sustained thinking about history and nature and religion. That’s a little different than what your to be list, but thinking in terms of to be, instead of to do puts me in a more intentional state of mind. I’m looking and possible rides to take and instead of saying, “What do I need to do for this?” I can start thinking of what or how I want to be? and that makes more sense – do I want to be peaceful, exhausted, in awe. Thanks for a new way of thinking.

  2. Jen Hudson

    I love everything about this TOO much! I am also a “to do” list person. I love the satisfaction of crossing off an item from my list. How incredibly powerful if, when I struggle with my attitude or focus, I could glance at a list and see that on my “to be” list is “to be intentional with my time.” Or, if at the end of my day, I could look at a “to be” list and reflect on my individual growth “to be truly open to those around me.” Thank you for this amazing reminder!

  3. James King

    I appreciate this post. I also wrote a list about making to-do lists this school year, so I instantly connected there.

    I find it aspirational that you can plan for things ahead of time, and can work in the long term. I am very “what needs to happen before tomorrow” and it is sometimes stressful cause big projects get left for the last minute.

    I will have looming projects upcoming by my mind is always “will my 2nd period go smoothly tomorrow” rather than getting things done in advance.

    Your To-Be list would also help in the stressful times for me as well, regardless of our mindless. The to-be is helpful always!

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