School Beat First impressions… with anxiety or confidence! by LISSA WEIDENFELLER, Principal North Rockford Middle School Did you know that it only takes 30 seconds to make a first impression? Once a bad first impression is formed, it takes approximately 20 additional encounters to change that opinion. With so much on the line, being anxious about meeting someone for the first time is normal, especially when it is someone that you feel is important or that you want to impress. An example could be a job or college interviewer, instructor, teacher or coach. To overcome these anxieties, you must understand the basics of first impressions. According to the Flippen Group, authors of Capturing Kids’ Hearts, the following cues are what people notice when you are meeting others for the first time. They include: • facial expressions—Smile it is free! • handshake—firm, but not too strong. Do not twist your wrist. Twisting your wrist is a sign of domination. • tone of voice—Speak clearly and loud enough for the person to hear you. A positive attitude is communicated through your voice. • dress and grooming—The situation will determine how you need to dress. Regardless of the situation, your attire should look complete. • eye contact—Make it! • posture—Do not slouch or pull away. Lean in when handshaking. • level of relaxation—Feel confident. Remember the past successes in your life that will make you feel proud. • energy—Are you excited and feel honored to meet this person? If so, let your energy show it. Practice these skills and do not be afraid to recognize and initiate contact with someone else. They will at least know that you care! When you meet someone for the first time and start to engage, it is the first step to building a potential relationship. Remember, your tone and body language must say, “I am enthusiastic about meeting you,” or “I am excited about being here, and I want the position.” With these basic skills, I hope the next time you have an interview or meet someone for the first time, your anxiety will be reduced and your confidence will help you make a good first impression.
by LISSA WEIDENFELLER Principal, North Rockford Middle School As the New Year comes and goes, so do some of our goals and New Year’s resolutions that we hope to accomplish. How do you set a goal that you can stick with throughout the year and actually achieve? You do it the SMART way! According to Quality Leadership by Design (QLD), SMART Goals are goals that are: • Specific/Strategic • Measurable • Attainable • Results-Based • Time-Bound SMART Goals can be used in almost any situation: personal, professional, financial, educational, healthy living, spiritual, and much more. Prior to setting a SMART Goal, you need to determine what you are trying to improve, what you would like your end result to be, if it is attainable and in a reasonable amount of time, and how you are going to measure that you actually achieved your goal. Business and industry have been using results-oriented goals for decades. Schools throughout our nation have followed this model, including North Rockford Middle School, and are using results-oriented goals to focus on increased student achievement. As educators, we not only focus on teaching students, we also focus our efforts on ensuring students are learning. Using SMART Goals ensure that we are setting goals that will provide for continuous improvement in learning and increase our student success rate. An example of a SMART Goal in a school system could be to have 98% of our students proficient in basic math facts by the 2010 MEAP. An example of a personal financial goal could be as follows: 20% of my financial department will be reduced by September 1, 2009. An example of a healthy living goal could be to reduce my weight by 15% by April 1, 2009, or to run a mile within seven minutes by April 1, 2009. Once you determine your goal, make sure it is SMART. Start by planning the action steps and setting indicators, or smaller targets, to ensure that you are moving in the right direction to achieve your goal within the established timeline. It is hard to believe that we are almost into March. Revisit your New Year’s resolutions and goals to determine your progress. If you are not making progress or need an additional strategy to […]