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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in belief in oneself

Posted by on in Education Leadership

I recently prepared introductory remarks for our winter concert.  I used the same Microsoft Word document named “concert introductions” that I’ve used since I became a principal.  There are elements of these introductions that need to be repeated every year:  turn off your cell phone, don’t yell out your kids name, stay until the end of the concert, thanks to our dignitaries for attending.  So I cut and paste the previous year’s speech and then make revisions.   

Despite the “canned reminders” noted above, I always make different remarks as part of my introductions for a concert.  At this event I referenced a study done by the renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks about the effects on the brain that learning to play a musical instrument has.  Did you know that Duke Ellington’s brain looked completely different than Albert Einstein’s, but that Einstein’s brain probably looked mostly like yours and mine?  People who play a musical instrument have brains that are physically different than those who do not play.   My mentor taught me that any time you address a large gathering of people in your role as principal it is an opportunity to reinforce the vision and mission of the school.  This reference to Sacks’s research allowed me to remind the audience that everything we do at our school is about LEARNING.

Because there’s no podium in front of the stage, and it’s often dark, I make sure my remarks do not exceed a single page with large font.   When I pressed the button to print the speech, I made the mistake of not selecting the particular page that had my remarks for “Winter Concert 2017”.   Over 60 pages began streaming out of my printer.  That’s how many concert introductions I’ve done since I became principal.  I am in my 12th year as principal at my present school.  Add to that the five years I was principal at another school, that’s a lot of concerts.   

If you’re going to have a single job for a long time, the two jobs you would do well to consider are classroom teacher and middle school school principal.  Both of these are dynamic roles that are constantly challenging, you can never be bored.  The jobs of the principal or the teacher are wildly unpredictable.  It’s important to have a plan but don’t expect that you’ll be able to follow it. Because of the chaotic dynamism of these roles, there’s a tendency for some people to cling to consistency.   If it went okay last year, let’s just do it the same way again this year,  “Here comes Parent Teacher Conferences, Meet the Teacher Night, Graduation, or a Concert again, let’s trot out the same plan from last year.”   I call this attitude, “Good enough is good enough”.  I wrote about this in a previous post, and it’s not okay. 

Good enough is simply not good enough.  Despite how long we may have been doing our jobs, complacency will not help us to improve.   With the new year approaching, like many people, I have sought the one word that will represent my intention to grow.  I am committed to looking at every single thing I do with the purpose of improving and getting better.  To do this, I am going to focus on an important factor.   My one word resolution for the 2018 year is Feedback.  We cannot grow unless we hold up the mirror to our personal and professional practice.   

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Posted by on in General

It seems these days, families live so far apart. I’m sure that’s the way it is for most of us. Keeping connected takes a lot more effort than it used to.  I don’t think it is just me and my loved ones.

Screen sharing is not the same as being together in real time, although it somewhat fills the gaps.

I feel like a slacker. Lately I’ve been losing things, including house keys and my wallet, twice. Moving much too fast. Not exactly self-care. I finished helping at the preschool until September and the preschool was the first graduation. We had seven of the littles graduating and what a fun, imaginative production for all the children.

It seems like I’ve been on a treadmill lately, such a busy time of year. I looked forward to going up to Beaverton to take a much needed family-filled break.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

 preschool

"Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start. When we read we begin with A B C...."

Who knew I'd love teaching littles? Not me, that's for sure. 

Preschool KWLW: Here's my learning update, month seven of my what was I thinking in year forty six? Who else in their right mind would start over, at the very beginning. Like how to hold a pencil, how to handle a book with love and repair ripped pages. I think I'm doing pretty well with the goals of the literacy grant, but I'm not working in sequential order like I usually do. I feel so out of sync, then all of a sudden, voila! the pieces come together.

Show and Tell and Circle Time offer time to structure, hold a class meeting for a couple minutes, sing, stretch and say our affirmations. Growth Mindset oozing from every pore of all of us. I lead Circle two days a week. I set and Close and bring puppets, props, a costume, tell stories, you know where I'm going here. Family learning.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

good-enough.jpg

She was running late as it was, so there was no way that Jordan was going to be able to do her hair the way she had planned. As it was, there was barely enough time for her to throw her outfit in the dryer to try and get the wrinkles out. Why did Picture Day have to be today?

Quickly, she pulled her hair up in a bun with the first hair tie she could find. It wasn’t the look she had planned on. But at this point, with ten minutes left before she had to be at the bus stop. It would be good enough.

When she got to school it was obvious that most of the girls in her class has spent the entire morning getting ready for their pictures. Jordan wondered if staying up an hour past her bedtime was really worth it. Her mother had made her flash cards to help her study for the math test. But going through them had taken longer than she had thought. At least she would be ready for the test.

She couldn’t believe it! When she stepped into the classroom she noticed that each one of them had an Ipad on their desk. They would be taking the test on the computer today. She could see the excitement on her classmates’ faces. They each had one at home. She didn’t. Maybe this was why they didn’t seem worried about the test.

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Posted by on in Leadership

Two simple questions: What do I really need? Who needs me?

Recently, Seth Godin published a short post called "The ruby slippers problem."  In this brief post he described that, in our culture, we are always looking to get more rather than focusing on what we have. His post has been on my mind since I read it a couple days ago.

Then, yesterday, my son was watching a video and I was listening in. The video was about happiness and why video games make you happy. He loved the idea of getting some validation for his favorite pastime. My interest was peaked by something else. The narrator was saying that studies have been done about people who win the lottery, and the fact is that they are no happier after winning the money than when they were broke. 

I find myself on the hamster wheel sometimes, chasing what I don't have. Seth is right, that mentality is ingrained into our culture. In those times, I have to force myself to step back and answer those two simple questions. What do I really need? Who needs me?

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