The “Don’ts”

An interesting title for my first post, but ‘don’ts’ seems like the best fit for the past week. My role as a leader within a small school presents some interesting puzzles and conundrums from minute to minute. Yes, it’s a fast paced world …that of the primary school. It’s also a labor of love.

When I was growing up the nature of schools (and home) included a lot of ‘don’ts’ and even more rules. Today some of that is the same, but with some grey areas. Don’t run in the hallway, don’t speak too loudly, don’t play until you’ve finished your homework, don’t feed the dog avocados (this one ended with a just punishment). Many of the ‘don’ts’ have remained constant and aren’t always easy to abide.

However, this week the proverbial  ‘don’ts’ hit me over the head. I had carefully planned a meeting for all of my teachers and we were going to use a website to conduct an anonymous live poll that would generate a word cloud. The first question I asked was “How are you feeling today?” and the response was a revelation. I thought due to the sunny day, spring break on the way, early in the week (Tuesday) that it would generate some positive responses. This was the word cloud that appeared:

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After 24 hours had passed and I had time to carefully reflect (aka…agonize, tell myself what a horrendous leader I must be, worry about my colleagues, etc…etc…) about this anonymous response I realized how valuable this tool was to me. I didn’t recognize that the most important resource in the building was feeling wiped out…even ‘defeated.’ Yes, I also recognize that there are some positive reflections too…’hopeful’ being one of my favorites. But I have walked away from this experience realizing that I need to pay more attention to the ‘don’ts’ more often.

  • Don’t assume that your teachers are full of energy and inspiration all the time.
  • Don’t assume that a few minutes of carefree chat with a colleague is a waste of your time. It’s actually essential.
  • Don’t assume that because a teacher questions your motives it’s because they want to get out of some extra work…it could actually be a poignant thought about our true purpose as educators.
  • Don’t assume that everyone is on the same page just because no one is voicing an alternative position.
  • Don’t assume.

I’m still developing as a leader and taking it all in each day. I certainly won’t assume that will somehow slow down anytime soon. G’night all.

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