Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It ruined my whole day

Yesterday was an abnormal day for me.  I got stuck.  Really stuck.  For too too long, I couldn't get my brain beyond the barriers.  The two people at the table with me later asked if I was having a rotten day.  One of them told me that my mood was obvious when I first walked in the office.  This is not normal me.

Normal me has no problem looking at the current reality and looking for ways to get better.  I look for ways to learn and improve all the time.  Some folks even say I need to occasionally slow down my talk of improvement long enough to celebrate the good things that have been done.  Normal me doesn't stay down too long at all.  Normal me may say one thing one way, then immediately address the same topic with a positive, forward-thinking mentality.

Just like everyone else, my mood can swing back and forth.  I do think that one of my strengths is being able to swing it back to positive quickly.  I don't stay down in the dumps for too long.  Even if the barriers in front of me seem daunting, I usually can get to the pro-active, barrier-beating attitude that is necessary for continuous improvement.

When one of my kids makes a poor choice and forces me to make a tough decision as a parent, I usually bounce back from it really fast.  I don't want my children seeing that one negative event can ruin a whole day.  When I am working on Title One documentation rather than working to improve teaching and learning, I don't let the government-mandated paperwork ruin my whole day.  I push through it as quickly as possible so I can spend time on more important things.  Even if I am forced to use up an entire day to meet a due-date because of my continued habit of procrastination, I do so with as much of a positive spirit as possible.  I may get grumpy on occasion, but I typically bounce back quickly.

Yesterday, I let the barriers blind me for longer than normal.  And I was lucky to have these two folks with me.  They did not let me bring them down.  They didn't let the fact that I was stuck get them stuck too.  They listened to me and considered my thoughts, but they did not let it impede their desire to implement the much-needed improvements to a campus-wide process.  Yesterday, I simply could not see the benefits of the new process according to our current reality.  They refused to see the barriers I saw as insurmountable.

When I initially came aboard my current campus as principal, I was tasked with hiring a new assistant principal.  I told the committee, "I need somebody strong enough to tell me NO."  I'm glad she is here.  I also needed someone with a true coach's mentality.  Someone who knows how to make me examine my own words and thoughts.  Someone who is not afraid to engage in rigorous professional conversation and hold me accountable for rational thoughts and words.  I am lucky to have an instructional coach of the highest caliber.

Because of them, I was held to a high standard.  I wasn't allowed to negate the importance of the improvement efforts that will surely benefit our students and give our teachers a better system for working with struggling learners.

Sometimes, when one of those days rolls around, the best thing to do is to trust the good people around you to not listen to you.  Trust them for their passion and their character.  Know that they share your goal and they want what you want.