Monday, February 29, 2016

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Make it Count Challenge

Although the challenge was handed to me a while ago, I'm finally sitting down to write. This challenge began in #principalsinaction Voxer group that I listen to daily (Well, I try! It's more like a couple of times a week).  The group consistently inspires me, challenges me,  and helps me grow. Thank you to my #savmp mentor @PrincipalGarden who encouraged me to take this challenge on and reflect. Thank you to all I have connected with this year and made year two better than year one! I've loved expanding my PLN this year and learning with all of you!

1. What has been ONE of your biggest struggles this school year? 

One? I sometimes feel like an entire week is a struggle so it's hard to just pick one thing. Since I have to, I'll choose staff meetings. I want my staff meetings to be professional development for my teachers; something they are learning or something they can replicate and bring back to their classrooms. I have the best intention to always make them this way but then I feel like things get in the way: information to discuss about upcoming events, district requirements, technology issues, state get the point. I always try to put whatever I can in my blog post to my staff, but some things end up at a meeting. 

2. Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of this year. 

Before school began this year I made a personal goal to get connected with other administrators. Through Voxer and Twitter I have been able to do just that. I have multiple groups I connect with throughout the week that motivate, inspire, and support me. I've grown this year because of them! 

Another thing, thanks to #principalsinaction, is I've started positive calls home. As a teacher I made it a point to call and email home for good things all the time. It was something that was enjoyed by everyone and helped build relationships. As a principal I never really thought of doing it and even when I first heard of others doing it, I pushed it off because I thought I was too busy. My thoughts changed and I made time for the calls. They were such a highlight to my day, not to mention for the parents and students too! :) I'll definitely be continuing them. 

3. What are THREE things you wish to accomplish by the end of the school year? 

One thing I wish to accomplish by the end of the year is to remain balanced through the craziness of the spring. I have worked this year on balancing work and other parts of my life. Although it's a constant struggle, I'm doing better than last year. I remember the crazy, stressful time of spring last year and I want to remain balanced and not let it overcome me. With my Work.Life.Balance group as one of my supports, I think I can do it! 

Another thing I'd like to accomplish is to refocus our staff on the purpose and power of professional learning communities at our site. With the shift to common core, a couple years without new curriculum, and now newly adopted curriculum, our focus has shifted and time is spent trying to stay afloat. I want to focus on looking at student learning and instruction. 

My third thing I'd like to accomplish is to be present more in classrooms. Although I get in classrooms every week, the time seems to decrease as the meetings pile up. I want to be in classrooms to connect with kids and provide feedback and support to teachers. I'm often popping in and out of classrooms, but I want to make sure I'm providing effective feedback in order to support instruction and provide the best opportunities for students. I want to connect with kids on a daily basis. 

4. Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today's rough culture. 

#1 The kids - I love seeing their smiles, their accomplishments, their growth, and supporting them in their time of need. On a difficult day all I need to do is go into a classroom or out on the playground to join in on a game and my day is changed. 

#2 The teachers - they need someone who is willing to support them and their students as they work to provide the best opportunities for them. 

#3 I get to make a difference. Every day I get the opportunity to have a positive impact in the lives of so many people. 

#4 What else would I do? I can't imagine doing anything else. Every day is a new day and not one day is the same as another. I get to continue learning alongside other educators near and far. 
(My quote I love from @DrShannonbray, "I don't HAVE to be a principal, I GET to be a principal!")

5. Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions? 

I won't call anyone out specifically, but I'd love for the teachers at our site to take on the challenge. It doesn't even need to be in the form of a blog, just a Google Doc to share with others as a chance to reflect and inspire. 

Any principal from #principalsinaction that hasn't done it yet. Brandon?  Adam? :)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Roadblocks in Life

Currently I am reading The Mindful School Leader with one of my PLNs on Voxer.  After just finishing up a section, I was compelled to take time to write. A principal in the book shared her way of “purging” or getting out all of the thoughts and ideas in her head in order to make sure she was more mindful and balanced before the day began and before the day ended.  She journaled twice a day. I thought of how useful this could be in my life, especially at the end of the day before heading home to my family.  Journaling for me isn’t going to be my to do list, but rather my thoughts and feelings that I need to get out to relax and enjoy the time ahead of me. I decided my first “journaling” would be tonight in the form of a blog post.  

With high hopes and a positive outlook, I set out to try something new the other day. Something that I’ve never done before and I wasn’t quite sure what would come of it. In hindsight I probably didn’t think it all the way through, but at the same time, I was doing it because I believed it was best for kids.  So I didn’t mull over the possible negative aspects of it, I just did it.  

So what happened?  It blew up in my face.  I felt like I slammed into a dead end and and instead of making progress, I was pushed backwards.  I questioned myself. I wanted to give up.  The thought crossed my mind, “Why try if the results are like this?”

I thought about it, I leaned on my PLN for support, and over time I realized that it’s all part of the job. Actually, it’s more than the job, it’s part of life. We can set out with the best of intentions, but not everything is always going to turn out like we hoped.  There may be something in life you want, but it’s not going to come easy. Does it mean we stop trying?  Does it mean we give up? No way.  

I experienced a roadblock that day, not a dead end. Now I’m just looking for other ways to accomplish my objective.  

I know there will be more roadblocks along my path, but I need to remember this experience.  I need to take it for what it is and know that it doesn't mean I've reached the end.  I need to be able to reach out for support and work to overcome it.

We've all experienced a roadblock either professionally or personally...What roadblock have you encountered?  Did you give up or did you work your way around it?