This post was supposed to be a reflection on my first semester as a principal, but I got distracted because I forgot my password to this blog, as I always do, which revealed two things to me. First, my memory isn’t what it was a few years ago, and secondly, I don’t write enough posts. I’ve made a vow to myself on multiple occasions to post more, but I always find an excuse. Most times, I think of things to say when I’m lying in the bed reading, and the issue is my computer is purposefully left downstairs. I could get out of the bed, go down the stairs, retrieve the computer from my laptop bag, walk back up the stairs, get back in the bed, wait for the computer to load, write the post, proofread it, and post it…but just the thought of doing all of that is enough to make a person want to just go to sleep. So honestly, that’s what I’ve been doing instead. Sleeping.
But tonight I decided to load up my school-issued iPhone 6S and make use of it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write, but I knew that I wanted to capture moments from my first semester. In essence, looking back on it now, I would have done a ton of things differently, but the best form of learning comes from being in it, and I know that my team and I will refine our processes and have an even stronger start next school year. I know because we’ve talked about it already. There’s a saying about planning and failing that I could include here but I’ll save the sayings, adages, and the like for another time.
I’ve faced some challenges this year, and I honestly think that email is the devil. I am still not certain how any principal keeps track of 575 emails every day! Do you know how many emails that is by the end of the week? I’ve asked over 50 people, and their answers have all been the same. They say, “You have to make time to read them.” WHEN???! If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that the life of a principal is in the hands of those around him or her once the school bell rings to let kids in the door. Making time is something I’ve been struggling to do. That’s definitely one of my growth areas, so if any veteran principal or past principal has suggestions to offer, I’m all ears.
The highlight of my first semester has been characterized by the relationships I’ve been able to build with my students. In talking to some of my mentors, they always have told me that I’d make a great principal because it was evident that I loved kids and wanted what was best for them. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I agreed with them at first because I’d seen the principalship handled differently. From my time as a student until now, I’ve experienced the principals that wanted everyone in the building to know that they were in control. I’ve experienced principals that I wasn’t so sure liked kids. I’ve experienced principals that were smart and driven. I’ve experienced principals that were results oriented and personable. All of my experiences taught me one key thing…I would only be successful if I was myself. I could emulate others and take different approaches, but at the end of the day, I can only be who I am. I know that some people are not accustomed to my approach to running a school, but these students will leave us one day and go off to do something in the world. I can assure you that they will not remember everything that is taught, but they will certainly remember how a teacher made them feel. They will remember how we all made them feel. For the brief time that we have them, we have to teach them things that are essential to survival, and sometimes that means taking out the time to tell them our stories and helping them understand that we’ve been through tough times but were able to escape through education. No matter what, my message remains the same. Education and a good attitude can take one further than anyone would ever imagine. Our issue is the media doesn’t always portray the same message and in a world full of technology, sometimes the media wins the battle for the given time…but it’s not a battle, it’s a war. And I’m not willing to lose the war!!
So here we are in the midst of semester two, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have a better understanding of what everyone needs from me. I woke up extra early this morning, said an intentional prayer, read my Bible for about 15 minutes, had a light breakfast, and was out the door 15 minutes ahead of time. My day was busy, but I wasn’t bothered by it because I was prepared. I’d gotten myself together before I tried to help anyone else, and that made all the difference. I realized that it’s important to take care of myself and give myself time to prepare for day. Because I want to be intentional in 2019, I have a focus on doing that. A better me means better support and a better push towards our goals. During the first semester, I had good intentions. The difference is, now, I’m a step closer to knowing how to make those intentions a reality. We’re gonna make it. We keep doing the work.
Be great. Be accountable.