This post really has nothing to do with education or research. It does not contain strategies or resources. But I believe that it does provide you with something that will make you a better school leader. Take a break. No, really, that is the advice. Take some time off. No phone, no e-mail, no interruption. Get off the grid for a while.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your building will not shut down without you there. It will continue to operate. Believe it or not, you might not be missed (this is not really a bad thing). But some time away from the building, I mean really away from the building, CAN make you a better leader.
When I was first appointed as the Principal of Tomahawk Creek Middle School three years ago, I made appointments with several principals that I respected. I asked questions and asked for advice. One of the people I met with gave me some sage advice. He told me that you are given vacation days. TAKE THEM! While I have not been great at following this advice, I have learned to make sure that I am getting some down time for a few reasons.
Taking a some time off allows me to do a few things. I can catch up on some things around the house. This takes some of the pressure off me when I return to work. A few days off also lets me recharge my batteries and return refreshed and ready to get back to the grind. A few days off also gives me a chance to relax and enjoy something other than my school duties. A few days off can be just what the doctor ordered.
While we can always tell ourselves that we are tough, that we don’t need time off, that we can’t afford to be out. I would argue that some time away makes you a better leader, one that has more energy and enthusiasm for your work. Don’t neglect your self. As the great Billy Joel said in his classic song, “Vienna Waits for You”, “slow down you crazy child. Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two”. Good advice.
Make this week ridiculously awesome.