I have had my first week at my new school, filled with students, teachers, support staff, and parents. It was a very busy week, full of drama and excitement. I put in some very long hours this week and I don’t think I even sat down for more than 20 minutes the entire week. I am exhausted. But, it was good. It is clear to me that the teachers are caring, energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and extremely dedicated and passionate about their chosen career. They truly care about kids and do what they can to make a real difference for kids and their families.
Dedicated teachers, like we have at our school, are struggling though with something this fall: job action. They are having some inner struggles about what job action is, why they must comply, and how to do it together – instead of dividing the staff. This is a difficult, but very important decision, for sure.
I recall some people commenting to me that it is going to be really difficult for me to start at a new school – right when job-action was going to start. I don’t see it as difficult at all. I see it as filled with opportunities:
1. To get to know the students and their families when I am on my minimum 45 minutes of supervision each and every day. Morning and afternoon are great times to see parents with their children, approach them on a personal level and make important connections with them. This is especially important in a community like ours where the families are often intimidated by the school system and often don’t have very fond memories of school themselves.
2. During job-action, I am learning about individual staff members and the inner struggles they may feel tugging at them from various directions.
3. Most importantly, I see job-action as an opportunity for staff to get to know me as a person and as a leader. While I have not been in the staff room at all this week (even though I believe strongly in eating lunch with staff and getting to know them on a more informal, personal level), I still believe the staff has begun to understand who I am (at least, it is my hope that they would have). I think they are starting to see (and will continue) that I value relationships, teamwork, collaboration, and always make decisions based on students first. I also hope they see me as someone who is patient, understanding, calm, hard-working, enthusiastic, and dedicated. Above all, I hope they see me as always remaining positive and demonstrating that nothing will squash my enthusiasm.
Relationships will continue to be a very big part of who I am as an administrator, Without positive relationships, you really can’t grow individuals, or as groups. Without working together, sustainable change is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
I will continue to get to know and build relationships with students, parents, and staff .
Job action is a great way to build these relationships, focus on what is really important. I will use this use this opportunity to get to know others and myself a bit better.