Passion Over Perfection

This first week(s) of remote teaching and learning has been quite an adventure for schools everywhere. I have said more than once that this feels a bit like we’re building the plane as we fly it. To say that things are fluid is an understatement. Teachers were already known for their flexibility before, but now more than ever teachers win “World Champion of Flexibility” with all of the adjustments and quick learning they’ve had to take on. Same for parents – they’ve had to adjust work schedules and figure out a new normal for students doing all learning from home. It’s been a lot for all parties involved, especially our students.

One of the things I have loved seeing though is the grace and kindness being given. It truly helps us all be successful in all of “the new” we’ve taken in over the last couple of weeks. It really helps allow teachers’ passion to shine. And shine it has! In all of the communications that our district leaders have sent recently, I am so appreciative of how perfection has not been expected, but passion has. When grace and kindness prevail, it paves the way for our passion to truly shine, which is what we need more than ever now in education, in the world, and in our every day lives.

Are you making sure the passion gets the spotlight?

Encouraging Community

Hey Google, “Define community.”.

I feel like we are at a time in education where now more than ever, we need to be encouraging each other to find belonging in a professional community. We have communities within our neighborhoods, our places of worship, book clubs, sports teams, the list can go on and on.

How much are we not only encouraging but providing time for teachers, administrators, and other staff members to participate in a professional community to learn with? It doesn’t have to be leaving the district, although it’s great if you can; it might just be letting 4th-grade teachers from around the district get together, or social studies teachers, or librarians. I love it when my staff wants to go talk with other Network Administrators, System Administrators, PowerSchool administrators, etc. I always enjoy the time I get to go bounce ideas around with other technology directors.

Communities give us fresh ideas, fresh perspective, and that great feeling we all long for, a sense of belonging. It refreshes the soul and it helps us all be better in the work we do for kids.

Let Them Have Furniture

My team is very excited to be getting a completely new office space. I’m really excited too! It’s being finished as we speak and we will be in it by Spring. It’s a first for us; everything from getting to give input on the design, to most recently getting to give input on the types of furniture we’d like to have and how we’d like our space to function. I gathered up my team’s ideas and shared them with the appropriate people and expressed their interest in being part of the process. This past Friday we all got to have a “field trip” to our new space to not only see the progress, but each of us was asked our input on what we’d like to have in our individual spaces. It got all of us even more excited than we already were.

A key trait of leadership is knowing the needs of your team. Sometimes the needs are big, something they’re small. Sometimes the needs are tangible, sometimes the need is to be heard. No matter the size or type of need, hearing what those needs are is important. It’s listening to understand and not always listening to respond. It’s making sure voices are heard and understood, and following through on it. These are things that can have a lasting, positive impact on relationships, morale, and general enjoyment of the work we do.