What to do next?
The past few weeks have been somewhat of a blur. Not the “I’m so busy I can’t remember” type of blur. Instead, they’ve been a blur because I’ve been trying to figure out exactly which path to take next.
How to Explain This?
Like a few other administrators that I follow – Peter DeWitt and Joe Mazza, I’ve been reflecting on my role as an educator/administrator. Unlike either of them, I’m not writing or working with someone outside of the school setting. Instead, I was finding that the role I had was no longer deeply fulfilling. It’s not that I’m not passionate about learning, students, teachers and innovation and change in schools. But as a principal, I felt I wasn’t where I should be – the fit wasn’t there. The school communities I’ve worked with have been great – the teachers, students and parents have been great support. The fit just wasn’t there – I was a round peg trying to fit in a square hole!
I’ve been a principal in 9 different schools over 13 schools. Now, there are multi-campus periods where I was a principal in 2 schools at once and in my last position, I was principal of a K-6 & 7-12 that amalgamated into a K-12 school so it’s not quite what it looks like but my family and I have experienced life in larger urban settings and smaller rural settings. I’ve experienced a great deal of growth over this time and have learned mostly because I’ve made mistakes in decision-making, relationship building, trust development, school community building and teacher/student/parent engagement. In fact, if you were to have a set of categories for administrators, I’ve probably gaffed in all of them – some which were pretty major gaffs. But, no matter the mistake, I learned long ago that I needed to apologize and then move on, picking myself up and dust myself off. Sometimes these gaffs will get together and, late at night, rush to remind me of my need to be reflective and consider my decisions/words/actions carefully.
In my last position, it has been an exciting/ exhilerating time as we entered a new school building and began to develop the culture within. During the last year, despite all the great things that were happening and the great growth and development that was taking place with staff, students and parents, I felt unsettled, like something just wasn’t right. I explored the field of central office with several interviews but nothing fit or I did’t fit – either way, those options didn’t pan out.
Time to Explore
So, after a long drive for an interview with all kinds of time to think and reflect, I felt it was time to finally take the leap to explore. My wife and I had spent a great deal of time in reflection. As an administrator, my focus has always been “Do what’s best for students” and I knew, if I was being honest with myself, that I wasn’t going to be able to do that in the upcoming school year – I wasn’t going to be able to “Walk the Talk”. So I resigned with nothing other than a gut feeling that there was a new path out there for me to create. It was time to explore something new.
What will we find?
I’ve learned a great deal as an administrator and teacher. As I’ve explored the world outside of school through various interactions on social media like twitter, FB, Plurk and other avenues. I’ve been involved in GH, Skype and other activities with great educators from around the world. I have been drawn to explore how to assist teachers to utilize these great tools to engage students and better manage the incredible amount of initiatives that are placed before them while they try to help their students. So, after a great deal of reflection, I’ve decided to pursue my PhD in Educational Administration and Leadership – now to find a university!
Food for Thought
These are some of the titles that I’ve been reading over the past few months. They’ve pushed me to think more deeply about learning, school and those involved – students, teachers, parents and community. In this time of change, there is opportunity to explore how and why we’ve done things and how, why and what can be done to change and evolve – move the paradigm. Like Joe Mazza and Peter DeWitt, I’m drawn to explore the world outside the school – to Walk the Talk and follow my passion – to help teachers/students/parents in a different capacity to build their capacity to reshape school and the world. I don’t have the means to attend various conferences but have learned that being there is only an added bonus since the learning is available because of the sharing that takes place. Having explored a MOOC this summer focused on Design Thinking, I’m intrigued how this process can be employed in schools – by teachers and students but also by administrators, central office, IT and other support personnel in a way that is better suited for engaging more individuals in a problem solving method that is vastly different from what most people have experienced.
So, if anyone out there has something for me to do over the next few months, I’m open to suggestions! Really. If I could find the funding, I’d do something like this:
Otherwise, my new mentor and I will be exploring the world – with a leap of faith!