I’ve talked a lot about how I think transparency in this role is crucial. There can be so much pressure to be Pinterest perfect, even as a principal. Now that I am entering year 4, I generally feel as if I have a pretty good grip on what I am doing and in what direction we’re all heading.
Nothing will make me doubt that faster than a deep data dive.
This post isn’t about the merits of testing or my personal stance on its purpose in education. I don’t want to debate any of that drama. It’s above my pay grade! THIS IS NOT THAT POST!
This post is about how it makes me feel, physically, when trying to have a conversation, with one of the hardest working staffs I’ve had the privilege of working with. One that is encouraging and supportive, but also accountable, challenging and motivating.
When we met as a district leadership team to review our campus performance data, my roller coaster of a reaction varied on the page I was on. Some pages were great. Some were amazing. Some made me see the potential. Some had gains across the board and some had leveled off.
I should also point out that we did really well, overall.
But that isn’t what I walked away thinking. I walked away needing a pedicure and some quiet time. My immediate next step was to figure out how to deliver this same info to those hard-working teachers. Even what we did well in was overshadowed by the areas where we could have done better.
My goal, always, via Todd Whitaker, is for them to walk away from our campus meetings more excited to teach tomorrow than they were today. This meeting did not do that. Even my body revolted against me, I could feel the beginnings of a fever blister.
Delivering the reality of what we did, knowing that we can always do better (b/c hello, growth mindset and we can ALWAYS DO BETTER!) is incredibly difficult to do without making people feel like what they did wasn’t good enough. And even if that’s true? That is a sucky thing.
I think I need to read more sports leadership books…this is what coaches deal with all the time, right? Playing hard, leaving it all on the field…and still not winning every game. That can be the reality in the classroom too.
I have decided that we won’t be doing anymore whole group data days moving forward. We’ll meet separately as a grade level PLC, and have these conversations. Same data will be shared, face time will still happen to everyone. Celebrations will be more meaningful and but I am hoping the “where can we ‘level up” chat will also be easier in smaller safer place.
So there. Principal confession. I hate data days. I love data and what it can to help, guide, and inform…but man, it stresses me out.
Make me feel better and tell me YOUR principal confession!!