I was not the principal I wanted to be this week. I set out this week to be in classrooms, write notes of thanks and gratitude to you and just be of service. Then, life happened. Bella ended up coming home sick from school on Monday and stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday. I ended up getting to school late most days this week. I was distracted and just not my best self. But, when I was driving to school this morning I decided to give myself some grace. As soon as I let myself be okay with being disappointed in my week, I felt so much better.
Later, I looked up the definition of the word grace. Merriam Webster defines grace as “a temporary exemption”. Exactly what I needed! A temporary exemption from being ELITE. I was not ELITE this week. I was not "better today that yesterday" this week. But, that’s okay.
So, I challenge you to give yourself some grace when you need it. Have you noticed that we freely and easily give grace to others. We often are encouraging others to take care of themselves, take a sick day or leave school before it’s dark outside, but do we take our own advice?
Grace is the answer because our exemption is temporary! We’re not saying we surrender, we’re just temporarily hanging out of the mountain of average so when we get our life back in order we can go back to being our ELITE selves!
My hope for all of us is that we all have more ELITE days than not and that we give ourselves grace on those off days.
There are so many things that I love about JW Reason. One of the things I love the most is that we are not afraid of change. We are not afraid to grow and try new things. We are not afraid to push ourselves and each other to be better. We have the power to make the future better than the present.
At our next staff meeting we will evaluate ourselves on our the personal commitment plans we wrote in August. We will also take a look at our progress on the action steps in our Building Commitment Plan. I encourage you to take some time between now and November 30th to reflect on both plans and think about what we can celebrate and also where we need to continue to grow. On our journey to ELITE we can never be satisfied.
We have to stay hungry-we cannot be afraid to say that we’re not there yet and we must be ready to create and execute a plan to make it happen!
Let’s not waste the next few weeks before winter break, let’s use this time to grow and get closer to our goals. Let's commit to creating a future that is better than the present.
On Thursday, Whitney J and I got to spend the day with Tim Kight. We’re supposed to be helping him develop a Lead Now for Educators workbook but really, he’s training us! He’s teaching us to think deeply about what leadership means. His questions cause us to reflect on ourselves as leaders.
As part of our work today, Tim defined the meaning of ELITE.
He said, ELITE is becoming the best version of you.
Just the best version of you!
ELITE is not about being like someone else or comparing yourself to anyone, it’s simply being your best self.
He then clearly defined why it’s important for educators to be on a journey to ELITE. He said, “when your behavior improves, your teaching skills improve.”
As we continue on our journey to ELITE we have to reflect on ourselves. As we reflect on ourselves we must know the answer to these questions:
What do I believe?
How do I have to behave so I can live out my beliefs?
What experience does my behavior create for others?
As we continue on our journey, it’s important to remember that things can get extra stressful this time of year. It’s cold outside, it gets darker earlier, the honeymoon period has ended and it’s easy to BCD. We have to remember that we are still on a journey. We have to remember what we believe and how we need to behave. We must be disciplined to ensure that we don’t let this dreary time of year throw us off path. We must be intention, disciplined and skillful so we can be the best version of ourselves.
I have the pleasure of being the leader in our school. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to be in on all of the behind the scenes action. Yes, I get to watch you teach and participate in professional development with you like data teams and JW Grows. But, what I love more is that I get to part of the things that no one else knows about. Outsiders looking in to a school don’t know about the early mornings, late nights and weekends that you spend taking care of our kids and their families.
Thursday was one of those unplanned late nights when I have the opportunity to see this staff at its best. At the end of the school day we had three stressful situations occur-one required a call to Jeff who quickly came over from Avery; one required a suspension; and one involved a little kindergarten girl not being picked up from school until 5:30. Through all of these “after hours” issues I watched as staff member after staff member rearranged plans and calmly handled situations without worrying about it being nearly 2 hours after the end of the school day. Katie and Beau stayed with our little kindergarten friend until her dad came, Jeff spent time with a student’s grandma to help her take appropriate steps in a serious situation while Regina hung out with the student for 2 hours and talked to her about all kinds of things; Cathy, Lisa, Anita and Karen helped me with my discipline issue and no one complained. That’s what we do behind the scenes.
Thursday was not my favorite day, but as I reflect on the work you all do behind the scenes I remember that there is no place I’d rather be. I could not lead this building without all of you. I could not have handled all three of those issues at the same time by myself. Thank you for all of your work behind the scenes.