Free Falling

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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.

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What will we find?

New Path

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

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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.

Final Thought

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!

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6 responses

  1. Loved this blog post Kelly! Will follow your exciting adventures over the next few months. What a wonderful opportunity! @7mrsjames

    1. Thanks. It truly is an adventure.

  2. […] The topic was prompted by a blog post by @stangea – Burning Out which then became our #saskedchat blogging challenge topic for the week. There have been a number of post that deal with teacher burn out and a number of response posts that discuss why teachers are not leaving teaching and staying. I won’t discuss either of these. Instead, I will refer you to my own experience, my last experience, with being at a cross-roads – Free Falling […]

  3. I can relate to some of the things you talk about in this post. Many times in my career I have felt bored or unfulfilled doing what I am doing and looking for a challenge. It had nothing to do with not liking the job I was doing or the people I was with. It was more to do with a drive for learning and sharing that was not there. I appreciate the work you do driving #saskedchat and organizing the rest of us. I know you do not do it alone, but you are a driving force. I have learned a lot from you in the short time we have been connected and I can tell that I will continue to do that, no matter what your next path is.

    1. Thank you. Likewise, I have learned a great deal from you and everyone who joins us on #saskedchat! It is an amazing group of educators working together and I appreciate all that everyone contributes and helps! I so appreciate the work incredible work that you do as an administrator and appreciate your feedback and input. Thank you for sharing with us and taking time to join us.

  4. It was so interesting to read this post and to understand your thought process at that time. Your journey is continuing! How exciting! I for one, am thankful that you made this big leap back in 2013 or our paths may never have crossed. I feel that you are playing an important role for many teachers in this province right now through your support, research and engagement. Thanks for this and keep it up!

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