Leading through learning
As a new year begins, I am always surprised and grateful for the “freshness” that is inherent in our field. Teachers come back excited and rejuvenated, students come back with new goals and hopes, new students arrive to us unsure and eager to learn. It is one of the most critical times in education because it is when everything is set for the year. Once those students cross the threshold of the school building, the year is officially off and running. As a leader, it is important I make the most of the preplanning days and strategically set my teachers up for success. Can they be fully present when their students walk into their classrooms? Can they take the extra minute to connect and get to know their students? Have I made them feel welcomed and appreciated and valued during those essential days of preplanning when our list of information to provide them is long and seemingly growing? I think some years have been done better than others but every year there is some improvement. This year we did less of a PL rollout and while the bells and whistles were not there and there wasn’t a show put on to pump everyone up about the new year, what we have this year feels more authentic than last. Is it due to another year with an admin team intact? Teachers leaving and new ones bringing a freshness that only new prespectives can share?
Maybe it’s the new initiative with PBIS that has the positive vibe many of us are picking up on this year. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Maybe the big answer to all things educationally speaking is finding balance. Is this perhaps the answer to bigger questions as well? As educators, we are tasked with teaching students to make good decisions, communicate effectively, and learn information that will help them do the first two things well. As leaders we are tasked with encouraging and believing in our teachers and removing obstacles from their teaching and delivery of content to their students.
This year, I have some specific goals for myself personally and I want to state them here with the intention of revisiting in May 2020 to see if I achieved them or at least kept them in my focus.
- Tweet everyday. This is not so I can say something profound every day but rather a bump to make sure I am reading something profound every day. Starting my morning with some guidance from others gets me in the right mindset. And as a leader, I believe mindset is everything.
- Blog weekly. This is so I can spend some quality time reflecting on how my principles look in action. Am I in harmony? Do my thoughts, words, and actions align? What are my hurdles? How can I look at them honestly and seek change?
- Exercise 4 to 5 times a week. I have to disconnect and recharge. This can be intentional workouts to hikes to kayaking to playing with my dog. Instead of this being a chore, I am going to try to look at this like an opportunity to thank my body for the 41 years of life behind me and the many, many years ahead.
- Meditate and practice yoga daily. Even those mornings I can only stay calm for 2 minutes. Or have to find a 5 minute yoga routine (thank you Yoga with Adriane!) On better days, my aim this year is 15. Yikes.
- Succeed at home first. These are the people who matter most and at the end of the day they are the gauges for me on whether I am living a balanced life.
In previous years, I would separate my professional goals from my personal goals and would end up with about 10… and rarely accomplishing any of them. This year I recognize my roles merge all the time and I’m going to stop trying to separate them. Too much effort and for what?
So here we go. August. Week 1. 2019-2020. Bring it. Boldness. Bravery. Beauty. Let’s seek joy and be present. By the last blog of the school year – May Week 4, I hope to reflect and be able to proudly say I lead this year by learning.