Last spring we had a pretty ferocious hail storm that decimated many a home in our little Wylie, Texas. Literally, entire neighborhoods were inhabitable for a time and every roof on my street had to be replaced. Softball sized hail will do that! Now, every time we have thunder and rain, I have students who come down to the office crying, worried about their families and homes. It’s a natural by-product. We’ve combatted that as a staff by being overtly calm and reassuring. We’ve lowered lights, we’ve had conversations, and have even pulled up TV reports or radar to help show students exactly what is happening outside when they hear a storm.
What I have learned, through that example and several others, is that students (or grown-ups!) are going to take their cue from the way others are acting/reacting around them.
When we get data that comes back lower than what we want to see, how I disseminate it impacts how my teachers react& handle it. If I go in, gun a’blazing, there is a defensive tone in the air. It becomes me against them, which is NEVER good for anyone. If I come in ready and willing to discuss and help with a plan of action, the air of willingness and collaboration is practically tangible.
When we thought that the very last minute that we may be adding an 8th (yes, 8th!! section in a grade level, the level of panic was high. When I was able to be outwardly calm and talk my way through what/how we would handle it if came to be, everyone calmed down. My AP literally said, “If Amber’s not stressed about this, then I’m not going to be stressed about it either.”. It was a huge eye-opener for me. People are looking to leadership to see how they should act/react. Luckily, it didn’t happen, but if it had, we were ready.
In any given situation, the principal is the one who is steering the ship. Without a calm steady hand, that ship will straight up crash. Be calm leaders, be calm…be transparent. Over communicate. Talk your campus leaders through what you’re thinking. OVER communicate.
Channeling my inner Dahli Lamma,