Even on the surface, 2017 was a year where my career reflected my steps into leadership. I taught and played with my kids one last time in May before jumping into a summer school principal position. Despite being overwhelmed, I learned how to focus on the students in my new role, saw some of the good, the bad, and the ugly, experienced some #eduwins, and did a fair amount of both leading and managing. I then took another step into the unknown by joining my district's ed tech team, which included different leadership responsibilities than I had as a teacher, developed some goals, and ended up presenting at a Google Summit, which was way out of my comfort zone!
More importantly than my role or title, 2017 brought out a new confidence in me as I learned how to lead in both good and hard situations. I worked to amplify the voice of a refugee student, and gathered my courage when I needed to stand in the gap for some kids. I remember how much my heart was pounding in this moment, and it was a foreshadow of what it is like to choose to enter into difficult situations...for the right reasons!
I reflected on finding joy in relationships, the necessity of taking risks to grow, made room for some gentle reminders about who I want to be, grew in my ability to be flexible, felt the refreshment of being cared for, and found the courage to step into some hard conversations. I took (what felt like) a risk to write about what it means to be #bettertogether and how we often miss that as educators.
I became more comfortable with not knowing what's going on all of the time, and took away some key lessons from my summer that have followed me into this new role. I tried to lead in developing a more healthy work-life balance by making time for quiet, committing to work rules with my #PLN accountability group, and saying NO to work.
|If you are a sci-fi nerd like me, this clip
from Stargate Atlantis might make you laugh!
How can you sum up a year's worth of learning in one post? Here are some of my top takeaways:
- Leading means taking risks, big and small, for the sake of benefiting others. It means getting out of your comfort zone.
- Leading means taking a stand. Anytime you commit to something, you will probably have some people who like it and some who don't. But standing firm for our students and for what is right is worth it.
- Leading means listening. It means being humble. It means being flexible. It means realizing that everyone has good ideas to bring, and that we are at our best when we can work together.
- Leading sometimes means doing the grunt work. The work that nobody else wants to do or has time to do. It means doing it with a cheerful heart, because you know it's helping others.
- Leading has to do with how you live every day. It means encouraging others, finding joy, not getting drawn into the muck, and being a consistent presence for good. And it means owning up to it when you make a mistake, because nobody is perfect.
- Leading can happen no matter what role you are in - because it is about how you live, not how much "power" you have.
What's next? Stay tuned for my #oneword2018!