I feel like we're past the honeymoon period of, "I'm so glad to be here!" And, from the teachers I am working with, "We are so glad you are here!" Now, it's moving into reality - where real things are happening, real decisions have to be made, and tough conversations happen.
I don't share any of this to complain - I know what I signed up for, and I made the choice to step into it! But I have always tried to be honest on my blog with my reflections, and that includes the bad with the good.
The Hardest Thing
The most challenging thing, for me, is having to make decisions that I don't think are best. Sometimes, we are limited to Choice A or Choice B based on different constraints, and neither one is good! I might need to choose Choice A, because it is the lesser of two evils, but doing that and then "selling" it as I communicate out is a tough pill to swallow. I try to be transparent about what I think/feel, but it is a fine line, because sometimes the different constraints or parts that go into a decision are not things that can be made public...and I never want to throw anyone else under the bus, either!
Of course, not all challenges are like that. Some, my team & I have been able to think creatively about to solve with Choice C or M or Z. These moments feel so good - when we can find a way out of what looks like a no-win situation!
The Emotional Burden
This is nothing new, because we carry it as teachers, too - but it is just expanded. Simply put, educators care about people. That's why we are in this profession. And when the people who we work with have things going on in their lives, we feel it too. Additionally, sometimes I know about things going on at the district level that might negatively affect individuals for a variety of reasons. Holding that can feel weighty and sad. I don't always disagree - sometimes what is best for the whole system isn't what is best for every individual - but I still feel bad for how it will impact others.
This is an area where I have already seen a lot of growth in myself, and I hope it continues. Tough conversations happen. They need to happen in order to inspire change or growth! Yet, if I am honest, I just want to go and hide when I know these are coming. Humans don't like discomfort! Often, I have to take a minute to gather my courage before making a tough phone call or responding to someone, and then enter the conversation with grace, truth, and love. It helps me to think of being in the other person's shoes and thinking about how I would want to receive the information. I think that one of the worst things we can do is to try to "pad" bad news too much - sending very mixed messages and leaving a feeling of confusion behind. Kindness is important, but clarity is too, and we can't lose that!
So there you have it - random reflections from my week. I should also share that there have been so many good moments this week - from enjoying 1st grade art class to working with teachers eager to learn to attending an awesome art party to dreaming about the future! Most of my time, in fact, is filled with these exciting things! It all goes together to make this challenging, beautiful work of educational leadership.