The first week has come and gone! The significance of the role – and especially holding the role in my old high school school – has not been lost on me. It’s been a wonderful week in the halls of the school. It has been a week of successes, challenges, tough conversations, long days, many emotions, and constant thinking about my practice. The biggest success has been developing relationships with colleagues and students. I am really trying to further develop a Growth Mindset to paint challenges in a different light – and there have been some big challenges.
I didn’t have a teacher for a number of courses on the first day. This is pretty common at the start of the year but it can still be an organizational nightmare. Luckily, we have some amazing occasional teachers, but the responsibility lies on me for planning and, in certain cases, instruction. However, I took this as a positive. I like planning – and I also love being at the front of a room, (which is largely why I became a teacher in the first place) so I seized the opportunity to drop the administrative responsibilities and head into the classroom. It was awesome! This challenge gave me the opportunity to get to know some students, return to the classroom, and help teachers, so it suddenly became something to celebrate.
The other challenge I faced this week was a bad case of Imposter Syndrome.
Now, I’m sure some people would keep such challenges to themselves, I think it’s important to be honest about our vulnerabilities. Midway through the week, while drowning in an endless number of emails, phone calls, to-do lists, staff issues, and the overwhelming sense that I wasn’t being visible enough in the school, a little voice in my head started to question my own professional competency. I knew what was going on, but it was still tough. Luckily, I have excellent support, (Senior Administrators who provide support, Principal colleagues who provide an ear and ideas, and of course the knowledge that Rome wasn’t built in a day) and I know that the first week(s) aren’t the same as the rest of the year.
While reflecting on challenges is extremely important, I know that I also have to focus on the successes – and there have been some good ones, but as a teacher in the school said to me, “nothing really that great has happened yet. The best days are yet to come.” Of course he is more than right. If the great things have already happened, the 191 school days remaining in the year are going to be long ones!
In the meantime, I am going to rethink how I structure my day to ensure I’m out of my office and in the school meeting kids, supporting staff, and moving people along as often as possible. I will learn which emails and messages demand my immediate attention and which ones can wait. As I get to know the school and its needs, I will apply my vision about individualized, student-centred learning, the fostering of respect, and the importance of relationships to the needs of the school, and have a better sense of direction. It’s only been the first week and I need to remember that.