Sunday, January 5, 2014

Admin 101: A New Semester

I have been thinking a lot about teamwork and growth lately. As much as I believe we hold the cards for our own destiny, I also believe our level of success and growth are closely related to our environments, in particular, the teams with whom we work and surround ourselves. 

The last 5+ months, I have had the privilege to work with a great team of teachers, security officers, secretaries, teachers' assistants, janitors, cafeteria workers, and 4 other administrators.  And of course, our students.  There is no doubt in my mind that our school is a great one because of the teamwork that happens daily. 

I would be remiss though if I didn't mention that these last 5+ months have been quite interesting to say the least... a new position in a new school district after being a SAHM for 2 years has proven to be quite the challenge thus far. It would seem that I am learning about an entirely different world of education that has somehow alluded me throughout my 15-year educational career - budget issues that are cutting programs as well as personnel, student expulsion hearings due to drugs, alcohol and even weapons, homeless students, disciplining students for fighting, Special Education mandates, and counseling & advising staff and teachers alike for difficult situations..  Being tucked in my classroom seems to have safeguarded me from the realities of what else goes on in schools - the things that administrators must handle, and handle well.  Have I mentioned that this last semester has been eye-opening for me?

I have to say though how fortunate & amazed I am at the tremendous amount of support and respect shown to me this year by the incredible staff that I work with and for.  The opportunities for growth and learning about the whole education system have been wonderful. In the same breath, I am completely humbled by how much I didn't know. It's amazing when you don't know how much you don't know!

Consequently, there are a few things I hope to do differently as the 2nd semester begins tomorrow:

1). Don't shy away from making decisions, especially the tough ones...

There were decisions that I made last semester that didn't exactly turn out to be the best decision. At times, the wrong decision brought additional factors to light that ultimately helped us to make a better decision. I have come to the conclusion that not making a decision (especially the tough ones) and having confusion and a lack of direction is worse than making a poor decision. Not that I want to make poor decisions, but I think it's even worse to never make a decision while searching and waiting for everything to be perfect to make the 'best' decision.

2). Get into even more classrooms daily & work to grow new relationships...

I love being in the classroom - that is where my heart is still to this day.  I love seeing teachers engaged with our students!  I commit myself to getting into even more classrooms on a daily basis despite the endless paperwork, phone calls and emails to return. One of the easiest ways for me to stay relevant and current on classroom trends is to be present. I need to observe and be witness to what is going on & the connections we make with our students in the classroom.

3). Send at least two positive emails or make two positive calls every day...

How does it feel to get a positive email or phone call at the end of the day? How does it feel to get a positive email or phone call at the beginning of the next day? We all know this is a great end to the day or a great start to the next day. Taking five minutes to do this every day is so important, and when we make others feel good about the work they are doing, we also feel better about the work we are doing. I'm making time for this... every day.

4). Rely on and trust those with whom I work...

Now, please don't think I don't trust those with whom I work. I most definitely trust them to be the great educators and professionals that they are. This change for me is more about me accepting and relying upon those with whom I work. As a member of a team, it's vital that I 'let go' and allow others to do what they need to do. This means not trying to do everything myself and tapping into the strengths and areas of expertise of others.

I'm looking forward to starting the 2nd semester of this year - energized, refocused and excited for new possibilities & opportunities at school!

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