In the last couple of weeks I have been back to school…well actually, back to work – but at a new school as a Vice-Principal and it has been a trying experience for me in some ways but also a great reminder of something specific that I think I think about school and education.
Let me preface all of this with an acknowledgement that I don’t hate, or even dislike, change. On the contrary, I find it challenging and invigorating and I think we all need to enact change in some ways to avoid becoming static and bored. Some of us seek out meaningful change while others find it foisted upon them but regardless change is inevitable and how it is dealt with varies from person to person.
After much thought and deliberation the difficulty in the change I am undergoing for me stems from an error in my thinking that I think many people in leadership experience (or I hope they do and I am not alone) and that is the need to have all of the answers; if not all of the answers…some of the answers…in some case even an answer would suffice.
However, as my context changes in schools I (and anyone undergoing similar change) have to learn many things about new surroundings and the programs that are in place. This is certainly not an easy task in many cases and requires time, patience, and guidance from everyone involved. Personally, it involves the need to be patient with myself and understand that my expectations have to be tempered as well. This has not been an easy task for me even as people around me (support staff, teachers, and students) are being super graceful and helpful.
The irony of this as I reflect on the last couple weeks is that as a teacher – one of the specific things that I valued most in the classroom was honoring the learning process and the time it took for each individual to get where she or he was going and yet I haven’t done the same for myself. Change, and learning anything is change, is not easy. Our role as teachers is to be an agent of change and this requires that we not only understand how this works for others but that we can look in the mirror and honestly allow ourselves the same freedoms required.
Something needs to give and I think I have some ideas…I need to be ok with the following statements:
- “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.”
- “Can you tell me how this works?”
- “Can you help me understand this?”
- “I appreciate your perspective…can we figure this out together?”
- “I have never heard of that before…tell me more?”
Anyway, time will tell how this change will play out but I recognize that I need to be patient with myself and to learn from the great people that I get to work with. I’m really excited about this new chapter and the challenges that will inevitably be involved.
If you’ve gotten this far I appreciate it – I’m not sure I would have :)…any ideas on change and leadership or are there things you value in your practice for others but struggle with yourself?…Drop a comment or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org