Failed. That was my first thought. I failed. A leader is a mirror for their school and their attitude is clearly reflected in the those they are leading. So, if it was evident to a teacher that last week was a tough one, then I must be doing something wrong.
My principal uses this saying,
“I’ve never had a bad day in my life, and I am not going to start today.”
We could be deescalating a student in crisis or working through a challenging situation. We could be sweating or bleeding (those state test booklets can be hazardous), but that will always be his answer, and he always says it with a smile. He gives a radio host from years past credit for the quote, but I credit him, because he lives it every day.
This is the stuff they don’t teach you in Leadership 101 (or any other leadership course for that matter). Regardless of how many books you have read, blogs you have followed, leaders you have interviewed, or Twitter chats you have joined, situations arise that just throw you.
I smile, a lot. I can smile through just about anything. But what if my other non-verbals are giving me away?
I cannot change the past. So, in the moment I made an admission, “Yes, last week seemed challenging.” Then, I changed the tone, “This week has been really awesome. We had Lego-palooza, an amazing band concert, and I had a really great meeting with the English department.”
So, what next?
1. That week will not define me. This is my fourth month as an administrator; it would be naive to believe I have it all figured out already. I have received plenty of positive feedback in recent months. I will learn and move forward.
2. Schedule time to re-group. Last week my principal gave me a directive, “I require that you eat lunch.” I always regroup at the end of the day: think through the day, prioritize for the day to come, and focus on the positives. Scheduling time for this kind of self talk before the day is over will keep it from getting away from me. If your boss needs to remind you to eat, you should probably take that advice.
3. Reach out to my PLN. I was given the amazing opportunity to host #satchat (Twitter chat, Saturdays @ 7:30 AM EST) on May 9th. I have found endless support, feedback, and direction from the educators I have connected with on Twitter. I am interested to hear their thoughts on dealing with “The Week.” The one that tries to get away from you. The one where the big, bad world sneaks in and mars our kids. The one that makes you feel stressed, even if you are a self proclaimed “non-stressor.”
I hope you’ll join me on May 9 to discuss the things that make us eat desserts.