Courage to Make a Difference

As I reflect on my time as a vice-principal, I recall an important moment.  It stuck out for me at the time and made me realize that I was becoming stronger in my ability as an elementary school administrator.  It was after one of the first beginning of the year meetings I attended with the entire staff of my new school.

During the meeting there were a few things that needed to be discussed, that no one seemed to want to discussed.  You know, those elephants in the room, so to speak. So, being new, it was easy for me to ask questions, get clarification, seek answers.  I remember addressing the topics honestly, openly, and in a professional, yet caring manner.  Being new, I guess it probably would have been *easier* just to sit there and listen and not make any waves.  That’s just not me.  I don’t believe that is the way for an administrator to lead.

After the meeting and all the staff members left the room, I finished packing up my things before heading pack to my office.  Some staff members were still standing around the hallways outside of where the meeting took place, chatting, as so often happens after meetings.

As I walked by, I overheard one teacher say to another, “She has courage.”

Hmmm… yah, I guess I do. 

Courage is such an important value to have as an administrator.

You must have courage to stand up for what you know to be right – what you know to be best for student learning and achievement.

You must have courage to persist.

You must have courage to have difficult conversations with people and not just ignore situations that may arise, because they WILL arise!

You must have courage to have an open door policy for students, staff, and parents.  You never know what is going to be presented to you, but you must have courage to know you can handle what comes your way (or seek assistance, when needed).

You must have courage to say that you don’t know, but you’ll find out.

You must have courage to say you’ve made a mistake.

You must have courage to lead by example, even if it is something new for you (i.e. technology).

You must have courage to share your goals, hopes, dreams, and own learning.

You must have courage to inspire.

You must have courage to build strong trusting relationships with people, even though you know you may not be working at that particular school for very long and that it will be more difficult to leave when these relationships are built.

You must have courage to stand up in front of a school with 500 students and teachers looking at you.

You must have courage to sing the national anthem in front of the entire school, out of tune.

You must have courage to supervise instruction and then give constructive feedback (as well as positive feedback).

You must have courage to say, “No.”

You must have courage to stand up for what you believe in and share your values and thoughts with everyone.

You must have courage to be transparent.

You must have courage to set limits on your work – to know when enough is enough and you need time for your family.

This list could go on indefinitely.

Courage is a value that can make a real difference in who you are as an administrator, in how others perceive you, and, most importantly, in the learning and achievement of your students.

Do you have courage? Do you demonstrate this courage to others?

Think back on a time when you demontrated courage. Add your thoughts to my list by completing this frame:

You must have courage to …

Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

3 thoughts on “Courage to Make a Difference

  1. Basically, you have to have the courage to be a leader! A leader to the students, teachers, and community! Being a leader is hard, but good teachers want that…good leaders inspire and give them the courage to be true leaders in their own classrooms, taking on all those “courages” you list above with their class!

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