Experience isn't just about what you bring to the table as the leader. It's about what you learn when you're there.
Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about my first few years as an administrator. It seems so long ago, although it has only been seven years. The truth is that I never wanted to be a school principal. As a public school educator, I wanted to be in the classroom with students. They have long referred to it as "in the trenches."
"School safety" is a fairly large umbrella. It encompasses the whole school perspective of keeping children safe through practicing fire drills, lockdown drills, and keeping the school in lockout all day long. School safety also includes keeping students safe through the use of anti-bullying programs, school codes of conduct, or school board policies. All of these are important to the school climate. Educators understand that children learn better in a positive and inclusive school climate.
In education we debate many issues. Sometimes it feels as though we debate just to debate. Whether it's the way we teach reading, writing, or math or the harmful effects of high-stakes testing, many issues create an ongoing dialogue in education. It should be that way only as long as it doesn't prevent us from ever moving forward. As we debate back and forth, a generation of students are waiting for us to get our acts together.
We have all had moments when we just wanted to be told what to do ... and moments when we wanted to be left to make our own decisions. Sometimes we want the opposite of what is being asked of us. As we continue down the road of more mandates and accountability than we have ever seen, we cannot lose touch, no matter how hard it may be, with our jobs to teach the whole child.
Life can be very stressful. Many of us are so happy to have jobs that we feel the need to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When we are not working more and more hours, we are on the Internet searching for the most current education practices to help us in our classrooms and school buildings.
Have you ever had to sit in the same seat for hours at a time at a long meeting? As you looked around you saw other attendees bouncing their legs up and down because they began to get restless after sitting for such a long period of time. Then it happens! The facilitator allows a break, and people jump from their seats to get the circulation going in their bodies. Movement increases your energy level and the feelings of lethargy float away.
That feeling of sitting down and not being able to wait to get out of your seat is how students in our school systems feel every day. They sneak a walk to the water fountain or get up to go to the bathroom just so they can move their bodies. Physically, they need to get out of their seats to alleviate some of the energy that they have stored up as they sit through a lesson.