I held fast to December, but 2014 is upon us and I am determined to welcome it with my full enthusiasm. While I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, I think it’s a good practice for educators to look inward at key points during the year. January is a good time to reflect on what the second half of the school year will bring.
When I reflect on the remaining months of the school year, I wonder what significant contributions I can make to my school community. What can I do for students, teachers, and families that will make a difference to them? After almost 27 years in education, I still question whether I make a difference. I know it will be time to retire if I ever stop asking that question. So, here is what I will try to do. You can call it a list of resolutions, but it is really a list of promises.
-Show up. Okay, that sounds weak, but our profession requires our presence. Outside of my family, my school has to be my biggest priority. Schools require leadership that is consistent and supportive. I will be there for my students, teachers, and families.
-Make decisions based on what is best for children. This seems like another obvious promise, but I’m sure that my colleagues have been challenged by all of the external factors that can cloud a school leader’s vision. I will keep my focus on children first and handle the adult issues within the context of what is best for children.
-Listen before problem solving. I have the word “listen” taped to the wall I face when I sit at my desk. School leaders are (or at least should be) natural problem solvers. Often, however, we try to get right to the bottom of an issue so that we can solve it as quickly as possible. The first step to helping someone is truly LISTENING to their concerns. I will give my full attention to students, teachers, and parents BEFORE assisting them with their challenges.
-Bring joy to my work. This is not hard. I LOVE what I do. Oh, I don’t love it every day, but I love it most days. School leaders who bring joy to their schools set a tone that permeates every fiber of their buildings. When students, teachers, and families feel that joy, they pass it on and it multiplies. I will try, every day, to bring joy to my students, teachers, and parents.
That’s it, just four simple promises (resolutions). If I can do those four things then everything else should fall in line, right? Maybe I’ll print this out and tape it to my wall.