So I’ve been staring at a blank blog page now for up to a week, trying to drum up the wonderfully wise, inspirational and innovative words that would be worthy of any future readers. I’ve fretted, panicked, worried, come close to giving up, and debated stepping into this forum. Who cares what I think? I’m a new vice-principal in an Ottawa K-8 school – what do I know after only 4 months “on the job”? What can I possibly contribute to the global dialogue that’s happening about students, learning and leadership?
Two things have happened this past week that have given me the reality check I needed to get started. The first is this: our staff have been working through the ups and downs of our School Improvement Plan, focusing on problem-solving in math. Specifically, some staff appear nervous about taking the first step towards letting go of some “tried-and-true” strategies that have been part of their math toolbox, to trying something different. Part of my daily morning communication with staff is through the Daily Bulletin that’s posted on our school folder. I include positive quotes at the beginning of every message, and this was the quote I chose one day this past week, along with what I hope was a reassuring message to staff:
“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark. “~~Barbara Hall (born 1961); writer, producer
*I know I’ve already used this quote, but it really sticks with me, especially in light of discussions I’ve heard or in which I’ve participated around our SIP goal. The process will be messy, we may make mistakes. I encourage everyone of you to give yourselves permission to be okay with it. Reach out to your colleagues. Reflect. Try things out. I understand how vulnerable it may feel, but we are colleagues in the same boat. And in the end, the benefits will be reaped not only by us in our instructional practice, but by our students in their learning and understanding as well.
So, if I can challenge my staff to make the first step outside of their comfort zone, why aren’t I expecting that of myself when it comes to trying something different?
My second reality check happened when I read a fellow colleague’s blog, http://shannoninottawa.wordpress.com/ Shannon in Ottawa has provided me with many points to ponder, and I have come to rely on her reflections and sharing to improve and reflect on my own practice as an administrator. Her latest post is a friendly challenge to give voice to your thoughts through blogging, and I felt Shannon speaking directly to me.
So Shannon, here I am! World, here I am! I have no idea if what I say will revolutionize education or leadership, but perhaps this will be the vehicle where I consolidate my thoughts, share my reflections and experiences, experiment with my voice, and discuss the issues vital to the world of learning I love.