I am stand for joy and love- these are my core beliefs❤️. My vocation, teaching, allows me to speak joy and love into the lives of young people and I am thankful for this calling every day.
I have been learning alongside a number of passionate middle school level leaders at the Association for Middle Level Education, AMLE, Leadership conference in SanDiego this past week. After a time of deep, rich, learning I have come to value a quiet moment to reflect and to plan my next best move to grow and stretch my leadership. This time to think, plan and document is a professional gift. You see, I am at the end of the academic year in a new leadership role, in a new city, new province, and with new curriculum. Truthfully, I have used the phrase “this is new to me” a great deal this year. Insert a humble admission here: I am not proud of how much I said this, but it was said regularly.😊 My entry plan for my new school included a lot of observation and listening.
If you knew me, you would know that listening, observing and uncertainty about protocol and policy is an uncomfortable place to be for my soul. My leadership profile marks me as an extroverted influencer. I love the limelight, and feeling confident! This past year has been stretching and–wait for it–it has been good for me. It is good not to hold all the answers. In some ways, I am back in a metaphorical middle school! You know the adolescent profile: I know enough, but I am uncertain about the rest. I am happy to learn, but I do not always like constraints and sometimes, I think I still know it all. I appreciate structure and expectations for my performance yet I long to be truly me and without limitations! I worry about fitting in and not being too weird or loud. I want to connect, build relationships and have fun with my peers. I am happiest when others are smiling and laughing with me. Will I ever graduate from middle school? I hope not!! The AMLE leaders conference reminded me just how much I love it!
My leadership learning this week reinforced for me that I am my best when I am truly myself. Staff and students will be best served when I am real about times when I do not know and we have to work together to puzzle it out and problem solve. Staff and students will feel comfortable when I am comfortable with my own significant degrees of weirdness. Do I know it all? Far from it, but there might be times when I make an informed decision and hope for the best. If the decision goes south, I will remind myself (and others if necessary) that this is how we learn – middle school is NOT easy you know! I will take risks. I will choose joy. I will share vulnerably and listen to others with empathy. These are lofty ideals I know, but this is what education is all about. Year two, here I come!