Learning From My PLN

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I am very fortunate to have developed a great PLN over the past 8 months.  There are some amazing educators and leaders in education who are always willing to share their thoughts, their feelings, their learning, and their advice with others.  While I do not have as much time to read blogs as I would like, when I do, I am always inspired.  Blogposts written by others, often spur my own self-reflection.

Today, I read a blogpost by of the members of my PLN, Erin Paynter.  She’s a Vice-Principal at an elementary school in Ottawa, Canada. I love reading her blog and chatting with her on occasion.

On February 29, Erin wrote a blog entitled, 29 Things I’ve Learned as an Administrator… So Far…  “So Far” is the key …. Erin is always learning, always reflecting, always wanting to improve.  I think that is why we seem to ‘click’.

I enjoyed Erin’s post because it made me reflect upon the things I have learned as a Vice-Principal, and, oh my, I have learned a lot.  I don’t think a day goes by without learning something new in my job.  That’s what makes it so rewarding, I think (and challenging).

#15 in Erin’s list of 29 Things she’s learned really caught my attention: You endorse what you don’t challenge. One of the people who commented on her post agreed, and said, “You promote what you permit.”   I agree with this strongly.

#27 of Erin’s lists goes hand-in-hand with the difficult, but important, lesson she described in #15. Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes.  I think it is imperative to do challenge the status quo, to take risks, and to model this risk-taking for all to see: students, teachers, parents, and fellow-administrators.  We are all learning. None of us knows it all (or even close to it all). It is important to learn from these mistakes (not be haunted by them), see them for what they are, and become better as a result.

I would add a couple of things to Erin’s list of other things I have learned (which I am sure she has as well):

* Relationships matter!  You will go much farther, quicker, if you develop strong, honest, “real” relationships with people. They need to see you as a person – for who you really are and what you stand for.

* Talk about your beliefs and values. People need to know what you stand for and why.

* Deal with things when needed. If it is important for something to have time before being dealt with then do that, but if it is important to deal with something right away, do it! Do not leave it for a “better time” because there likely won’t be a better time.

* Stand up for what you believe and know to be morally right and in the best interest of our students.

* The students in our building (and district, and province, and country, for that matter) are ALL of our students – not just the students of the particular classroom teacher they may have that school year.

* Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the big stuff, for that matter). Things are what they are and they will work out for the best.  They will. You have to believe that. Be positive. There is no use giving extra energy to things you do not have control over and/or are not that big of a deal, in the long run.

I am sure I could continue with my list all night long.  Like I said, I have learned a great deal as an administrator and will continue to learn. That is one of wonderful things about being an administrator/educator.

Thank you Erin for the inspiration and the continued reflection. I appreciate you and your learning.

So…  if you are reading this, I have a few questions for YOU:

What have you learned lately?

What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator and/or an administrator?

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.

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