I’ve been looking at something all wrong. It might seem that’s a problem, but in this case I’m thrilled. In fact, I’m feeling a significant wave of relief. Looking at something all wrong was a problem until I realized that I was looking at it all wrong, which really just happened about two hours ago. Now that it has happened, I can adjust the way that I’m looking at it, which is happening even as I writing this reflection. That’s why I’m thrilled.
I am now just over halfway through my first year as a building principal. That means a couple of things. It means that the honeymoon is officially over (or at the very least coming to an end). Stakeholders are getting to know me in pretty significant ways and I’m getting to know them as well. The “Howdy!” and “How do you do?” has morphed into “Where are we?” and “Where are we headed?” It’s good. I feel like partnerships are solidifying in significant ways, and that the change inherent in new leadership normalizing. The key however is that is remains overt change, and it will for some time.
I earnestly believe that things are going quite well, it’s just tonight I was reminded tonight that change is change…good, bad, or otherwise. Parents and students are reporting positive experiences, more and more teachers are expressing deepened understandings of my vision and making connection from it to their own, for the most part we are being patient with one another as we all work diligently toward ongoing progress, and we’re doing a wonderful job of giving each other the space and time we need to learn and grow. There have certainly been bumps on the road, but all paths are leading lead to a focus on teaching and learning and a solid commitment to student’s wellbeing and achievement.
The thing that I’ve been looking at all wrong is my understanding of the significance that “second order change” has on stress levels and ongoing challenges. I’ve all but dismissed it. My community is already experiencing “first order change” change. Me. I’m new. Even if it’s good (and hope that at least some of it is) it’s stressful. So, anything else is “second order change.” Any committee, any idea, and program, and suggestion that things might be different tomorrow, is additionally stressful. It’s extremely reasonable that additionally stressful things would be accompanied buy additional stress.
I won’t stop making every decision that I believe to be good for the children I serve, but I can understand, and more importantly, respect the significant discomfort driven by “second order change.” It’s not bad and it’s not wrong. It’s an organic part of the growth process.
I believe that intentionally respecting it will help me better support and encourage those experiencing it. I now have a deeper understanding that people are going to be emotional, concerned, and even uncertain as we move forward together, but I also understand that maintaining our focus and keeping the “together” part in mind will help us stay on target for continued excellence in education!
Live. Learn. Lead.
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.