After a brief hiatus from my blog writing (the Administrative” Spring rush” and then the summer unwind), I am back at school and back online thinking about the upcoming year. I didn’t really take a break from leadership over the summer, as I worked a bit from home, continued to watch news around educational issues and most importantly, still thought about school and my work. With the impending start of school right around the corner, it has me thinking about how much I love the time just before school starts. There is that “buzz” around getting things ready and getting things done in the school to welcome children back. The fact of the matter is; I love being a school leader. I love working with children, teachers, parents, and other school community members that contribute to a worthy cause, which is educating children. And despite the period of upheaval that is currently taking place in education, I still love leading my school and helping to make a difference for children.
The one thing I know about being a school leader is that I still don’t have all the answers and that I’m still learning too. I think some people believe that principals have all the answers within the school, however, just like students and teachers, we’re still learning and trying to figure some things out. That is one of the other great things about summer, preparing to start back to school, and working in education. I get to look back on the year that ended and reflect upon what we did as a school and what I did to lead those efforts. That doesn’t just mean reviewing data about student performance. It also means playing back in my mind decisions I made during the year, revisiting interactions and conversations I had, celebrating successes, and making an honest appraisal of my work in leading a school full of teachers and students. That honest appraisal also includes things that did not work well. The process isn’t one day, and it isn’t a week. It is a summer of darting in and out of my thoughts around my own practice and how I served the students and the greater school community. It involves confronting my own short falls as well and thinking about where I need to make improvements and provide better leadership. In the end, strong and capable leaders not only honestly look at where they need to improve, they admit that and share it with those that work with them and around them.
Ultimately, for me, that is the joy of being a school principal and one of the great opportunities of working in education. Often times, I feel many people think the term leadership implies that the person leading holds every bit of knowledge there is. In my opinion, leading and learning go hand in hand. It means that as I lead, I learn, and vice versa. It means that I have a growth mindset, and I am open to learning more so that I can be of the greatest service to students and teachers, and that I can support the organization I work for in a way that moves it forward too.
As many of my principal colleagues get ready to begin or have already begun their school year (those near and far), I hope that they have the opportunity to learn about their own work, celebrate their successes and think about the work they will change to help them have the most successful year possible with students and teachers, both leading and learning!