A Fresh Start

One of the many things I love about my job and the cycle of the school year is that every year is a fresh start. Hopefully, we have learned from mistakes, gotten better at what we do and apply those lessons in the new year. As educators, we have the chance to take a breath during the summer months, reflect on what we have accomplished in the past year, and focus on those areas where we feel that we came up short. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks about how the year went for me personally, and I have come to some definite conclusions. The biggest take away? I didn’t do a very good job last year. Don’t get me wrong. No one was fired, our standardized scores were fantastic, our teachers and parents are happy (well, MOST parents are happy), and by most measures, it was a great year. But I didn’t feel that way. When I started thinking back on the 2016-17 school year, I really felt that I had not given my best. Now, I am old. I have 32 years in now. I realize that I am no longer a spring chicken. I can’t participate in the student-faculty basketball games the way I used to. It takes me a little longer to recover after a week of four night events (which is pretty much every other week). But I cannot use that as an excuse. On my daily walk this morning, I decided that I need to have some specific goals to improve my performance for the upcoming year. Again, not that I was terrible or just counting days, but I felt like I was not in the moment each day. We all have days like that, but I really believe that I got caught up in the minutiae…too much time at my desk, too much focus on paperwork, you know the feeling. So, I have decided to make some promises for next year. In no particular order…

I promise to find some joy every day in my students, what they are learning, how the are feeling, how they can contribute to our school.

I promise to strengthen the relationships with my staff, to look for ways every day that I can make their work less complicated, to search for connections, to be there for them.

I promise to live in each moment, each concert, each game, each special event. To really be there for it.

I promise to spend less time in the office on the daily stuff, and more time interacting with the school, with students, with staff.

I promise to make a difference every day for someone in need in the school.

As you prepare for the new school year, what are your promises?

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About drellena

Principal of Tomahawk Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. President of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals.
This entry was posted in Leadership, Life lessons, Personal Growth, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Fresh Start

  1. Catherine Rose says:

    I think this is great that you are reflecting in this way. I love the idea of promises. Let me see if I can come up with one myself:

    I promise to make connections with my students and always see them as individuals with unique needs.

    I promise to find positive aspects to share with my principal about things going on around our school.

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