It has been awhile since my last post and the reason I have been absent is simply because I have been so busy. This is the toughest time of year because you are deep into things, the days are shorter, the weather is getting tougher but there is still much to do. It is tough at the most normal times, but recently there has not been much “normal” about my time recently.
Nothing too serious just a bunch of stuff going on and a whole lot of people who seem dead set on questioning everything I do. I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way (okay some of it is negative), but there is just so many things to do and so many ideas about how to do it.
You know me though, I am not a huge fan of people who complain a lot so that is not what this is about; I knew what the job entailed when I took it. This is about the amount of things that HAVE TO get done and simply not enough time to do it; and add to that a lack of understanding about that. I was at a principals meeting today and there was just so much that is expected of us now and so we hear about being instructional leaders (“dirty-footed leaders” is what they call it), in that we are supposed to be in the classroom learning with the teachers and being a part of the process. This is great but we are also supposed to be the chair of meetings about our spec ed students and even sit in on meetings for other schools.
On top of that we also have to make sure that we are always at the school because our first responsibility is to make sure that the school is safe at all times. This means that we have to handle all the discipline issues that come through, (because no one else is willing to take the responsibility that comes with these decisions). They are more than willing though to criticize you when you make the decisions and to challenge whatever it is you end on.
Then add to that the endless number of reports, surveys and lists that you have to fill out for the board, the unions, the students etc. and there is literally no time to be everything to everyone. Truly though, this week I am finding it hard to be anything to anyone.
I am failing this week; straight up, no doubt about it.
The question is am I failing because of a lack of effort, effectiveness or is it something else.
I sure hope it is not effort because I just can’t give more than I am right now. There simply is not enough time to try more so I have to take that option off the list (for my own sanity).
I like to think I am effective at the job, even though that confidence can waiver at times. I think though that I can do it and I listen to my colleagues and see that they are experiencing many of the same things and I KNOW they are gifted educators.
So I guess it must be something else. That is where the title of this comes in. PERSPECTIVE. This is the key to so many things in life and as usual, to this job as well. I think my thoughts about failing has to be with what I (and I think most principals) can get caught in… THE WEEDS.
This is the danger when you are so busy. You end up spending so much time dealing with things and not with people. You can get weighed down by the critics, by the reports, the demands, the suspensions, the complaints that you lose sight of the job. My job is to serve the school community and in the end, to make good decisions for the kids. PERIOD.
I need these dark moments to give me a perspective re-set. If I spend my time and energy worrying about the stuff instead of the bigger picture, I cannot possibly succeed. There is simply too much to do and with all that can come the trees. Wait a sec I just went sideways on you. The trees makes reference to that old saying; “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” The trees are the details that have their place in the school, but they are not the school. The school is bigger than these things and I have to keep that in mind. I have to not because it is a healthy outlook but because I simply won’t survive if I don’t. This is not a hyperbole; I worry about my health at times and that is why this is so important. I have to keep the forest in perspective and not fixate on the trees.
Now here is the tough part: how do I do that?!?! How do I allow myself to push away from the reports, the complaints, the grievances and the expectations? How to I tend to the forest while understanding that the trees need trimming at times too? How do I do this?
The honest truth is that I have no idea. This is not one of those inspirational AH HAW moments when I gain that ever needed perspective. This is something much different. I seriously have no idea how I can do it. I guess this is why I had a raging head ache all evening since I got back from my meeting. I honestly am struggling with all the expectations (actually increased today at our meeting), and worry about how this will impact me.
But the good news is that I have my blog. Honestly this exercise really helps me because it allows me to get some of it out. The rest is just trying to work through what I can. I guess that’s what life is really like. I guess there are just not that many AH HAW moments really. I guess life is just a series of struggles and then coping and reaching out for help. I guess life is sitting back once in awhile and reflecting on perspective in the hopes of gaining some. I suppose life is working through the trees and but not forgetting to find a hill somewhere that can get you the vantage point to also keep an eye on the forest.
That is it for now, hopefully we will talk again soon, when I need some perspective.