I was challenged by Meghan Loyd in her blog post (After my snafu with the donut tweet last Sunday on #oklaed, I’ll never again spell your name incorrectly.) and Kelly Husted in his blog post to write a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blog and include the following questions. I’m WAY behind on this challenge and blogging, in general. But thanks to my friend and fellow #principalinaction, Adam Welcome, I’m lighting the fire and kicking out this blog post….finally.
1. What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?
I face the juggle-struggle. I am a rural, small school lead learner. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that principals wear many hats. I do wear many hats, and sometimes different types of shoes (heels don’t work on the playground), and well, somedays, I feel like Joey from that episode of Friends when he puts on ALL of Chandler’s clothes at the same time. (You can watch the clip here, because, well, it’s F-R-I-E-N-D-S. Hello? You know you need a laugh.) Wearing lots of hats looks like this: Greeting students when the arrive & leave school, making positive posts on Social media for our entire district, cleaning an occasional toilet, organizing much of our district’s PD, coding or doing SoftSeven Math with students, observing and evaluating teachers, finding new ways to motivate students and infusing FUN into each day, driving a bus, learning about and seeking appropriate technology that will maximize learning and make the best use of school and district dollars, recognizing kids for displaying exemplary character traits, academic achievements, and reaching personal goals, playing with kids at recess and PE, attending extra-curricular activites for my school and our district, completing countless hours of reports/applications for the state and for grants, calling parents, advocating for teachers and kids, representing Oklahoma principals and my state through OAESP and NAESP….all while trying to be a mom of three kids with their own very active interests, as well as, a granddaughter (more like a daughter) to the ninety-year-old grandparents who raised me, and desperately need more and more care as time goes by – I struggle to juggle it all. I need a clone. Or two. Or three hundred. This is my struggle. I am learning to adapt and improve my efficiency with each day, because of my struggle. It’s become easier for me to evaluate the difference between a task that needs immediate attention versus a task that, still important, but not as urgent. My struggle also helps me remember to keep the focus on kids. Why am I here? For kids. I could easily make excuses or complain about all of the “items” on my plate. But, if I remind myself that the kids come first, it’s pretty easy to decide which tasks are important and which can be done when kids are not at school, etc. I struggle, and I grow from that struggle daily.
2. Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.
The first accomplishment is beginning a walking club at Vici Elementary this year. The club is called Tribe Trek since we are the Vici Indians. Tribe Trek meets every Wednesday from 7:50 am to 8:05 am to walk or run either around our playground perimeter or in our school gym when the weather is bad. I have always placed an emphasis on excercise in my own personal life. Excercise makes me feel good, I’m healthier, and have a more positive outlook. So, to see my students making an effort to arrive at school early to exercise and enjoying it – that makes my heart so happy and proud that we, myself and my staff, are able to model the importance of excercise and healthy choices for them. It is my hope that the enjoyment they find in excercising at Tribe Trek will continue to motivate them to choose to be healthy in the future.
The second accomplishment I am proud of this year is being more of a principal in action. I have made a conscious effort to get out of my office and be in the areas of the school where kids are. I can’t tell you how rewarding this has been for me, personally. You read the answer to question #1, right? In previous years, I would have allowed myself to say “I’ve got too much to do to ________.” With the blank being filled in by actions that would involve kids. I wasn’t placing kids before everything else in many situations. I was placing a report, a deadline, or an office “to-do” before the most important reason I even come to my job every day: the kids. I will not put anything before kids, ever again. They deserve to be FIRST. So, I am so proud that I have made that effort to be where they are. I’m reaping the benefits of building relationships with kids at school, and only hope that I am able to make more of an impact on each one of them.
3. What are THREE things you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?
These are simple.
1. I wish to get our staff started on the journey to using GAFE (Google Apps for Education) so that we can collaborate more together, and ultimately, create more flexible and diverse learning opportunities for all of our students.
2. I want to commit to making a positive phone call to AT LEAST 5 parents each week. I have made positive phone calls home, and have made several this year, but I feel like it’s something I haven’t done enough of.
3. I want to finish the school with as much positivity, excitement and fun as I began the year with in August. It seems like we are so fired up at the start of the school year, and as the weeks and months go buy, we allow ourselves to almost become numb and go through the motions of school. I DO NOT want to go through the motions. I hope to be a cheerleader for my teachers and students, and will seek every opportunity to create a fun learning and working environment for us all.
4. Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today’s rough culture.
1. I am not a quitter.
2. I LOVE my job. I know, I know. It sounds so cliché. But, I get to be with kids every day. What could be better?
3. This reason has 3 names: Cale, Kloe, and Cruz – my own precious kiddos.
4. Because I love all the time off in the summer. (Said NO Principal ever.)
5. Which FIVE people do you hope will the take the challenge of answering these questions.
1. My SAVMP mentor, Todd Schmidt.
3. Any member in the #principalsinaction voxer group. The members of this group share awesome, creative, and innovative ideas and challenge my thinking on a daily basis.
4. Nikki Albert, an educator who began her teaching career at my school. She has an enthusiam for kids and makes learning fun. And I think it’s time she started blogging about all of the great ideas she has.
5. Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think she has a blog, and I think it would be fantabulous if she started one! So, come on Joy, what is your 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for this year?