The role in which we play in education is beyond important, we all know and value that. What is even more important is recognizing the balance in learning as much as we can, and knowing we’ll never know it all.
And be ok with that!
Today’s question is exactly along those lines…
#askanadmin Q4: What has gotten easier through the years? Harder?
The complexity of school leadership continues to grow in its difficulty. We are managing a more complex community dynamic with fewer funds and in most cases requires a nimble intellect, a deep sense of urgency, and a committed learning leader.
It is easier than ever to get resources, ideas, and energy from other leaders and allies. We have to allow others to do our jobs and share the intellectual load.
(Unlike everysingleotherperson in this series, Sara was an IRL friend of mine before we connected digitally. We taught together, we were AP’s together, and now are principals together. She is awesome and an excellent one to add to your follow list! :))
Let’s face it… being a principal has never been easy! Each year it seems that the demands put on educators increases and we must find a way to balance, delegate, prioritize, and still have fun while on the job each and every day!
Let’s start with what has proved to be harder each year…
- Financial Constraints: I will not get political on this post, but with the budget cuts, we have to make tough decisions on how to fund certain programs and activities and what might possibly need to be cut. Sometimes these decisions are made from the top down; however, I am fortunate enough to have a Superintendent who values our input and ideas when programs and activities are concerned. What helps to remedy these problems: keep the students first and foremost in your decision-making and have a money saving, price negotiating secretary!
Now for some positivity, here are my two “easier” challenges:
- Difficult conversations: yep, all principals should experience this at some point and many more than once! While it has become easier, it still does not stop the sick feeling that I get in the pit of my stomach before, during, and after I have the conversation – but it does go away! I must remind myself why I am having this conversation and more times than not, it always goes back to our students! Our students deserve to have the best of us each and every day and that reminder is what has made the dreaded conversations easier each year.
- Taking risks! I am an out of the box thinker and at first was a little reluctant to take the risk and cause change in the culture of our school. My first year as principal, I did a lot of observing and reflecting and did not change much, except for upping the expectation of FUN and ENGAGEMENT in teaching and with our family nights. While building relationships with staff members and gaining their feedback, I was able to start thinking about the next year and what changes could be done to benefit our students. While I do not encourage change just for the sake of change, I do believe in change when a school has reached a state of being complacent. I reminded teachers and parents that we would take risks and sometimes fail, but failure is part of the learning cycling. Need some ideas for fun risk taking… as Todd Nesloney said at a recent conference I attended, watch SoulPancake videos on YouTube and be inspired. I completely agree and if you follow me on twitter, be looking for some ball pit pictures this fall!
I loved this question and feel like there are some things that will never get easier, and somethings that are brand new and hard each day! Would love to hear YOUR take on this one as well!