One of the most dangerous things to happen to any educator, at any level, is complacency. Complacency is dangerous in any walk of life. Complacency is usually a feeling that you have when you already achieved enough and do not need to work hard anymore. Complacency usually means you are in your comfort zone. I feel your comfort zone can be your biggest enemy. My college basketball coach used to say one of the most important ingredients to success is your ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I am so grateful that my coaches and parents challenged me to step outside my comfort zone because I believe it allowed me to reap many benefits. Their constant push challenged me to work harder, and more importantly it inspired me to eventually push my students in the classroom, athletes on the court, and currently my teachers at Central. However, I must admit it has been one of the most difficult parts of my job as a principal. For me it was easy to step outside my comfort zone because I wanted to be the best, and I also watched my two older brothers reach their goals by working hard and overcoming adversity. I never wanted regrets, but it has been much more difficult inspiring others to choose the road that requires us to work harder, the road that might make us uncomfortable, and the road that might cause us to even fail. But, inspiring my teachers to “Choose Excellence” instead of settling for mediocrity has been a priority.
“Temporary discomfort leads to permanent improvement”
Based on my staff’s knowledge in the implementation of CCSS, I will need to become the kind of “coach” who challenges them to step away from their comfort zone. Change is needed to grow as educators so our students have a high quality education. However, it will be my job to offer support for my staff as they embrace these needed changes. For our professional development, I make sure that our staff meetings are focused on how we can ensure student learning. The staff meetings where the principal gives information that can be handle electronically will no longer happen. This was very different for them. Many questions that have been asked make me realize change is difficult. One of the most common questions that I have been asked; Why are the staff meetings like mini School Improvement Days? No longer is the principal just a manager, but they also must be an instructional leader. Many of the staff wanted to know why I am giving little assignments to them and I had to explain the importance of reflection for continuous improvement. These questions made me realize sometimes the expectations teachers have of their students are not the same they have for themselves. We must raise the bar if we want our students to raise the bar.
“If we do always do what we always done, we will get what we have always got”
As a former coach and teacher, one of the statements I said quite often was, “No More Excuses”. Throughout my career as a teacher and coach, I knew the excuses I made distracted me from my goals and success. Excuses do not move us forward, but rather encourage complacency. Although it is easy to make excuses in education today, they still do not move us in the direction we need to go. Here, at Central excuses were quite evident, and I knew I had to make a strong statement that “we are done making excuses”. We want to model for our students that it takes perseverance and determination to become successful. If we are constantly making excuses, we will teach our students to make excuses. Our teachers at Central will work hard to have a No Excuse Mentality. We will focus on the process and results not the excuses that get in our way. Our students deserve educators that are willing to step outside their comfort zone to create a learning environment that is engaging and ensures student learning.
We still have a lot of work to do, but together we can accomplish great things! I encourage all my staff to become connected educators by using Twitter. I owe my improvement as an educator and now a leader to my PLN. My PLN inspires me to stay the course! Every day I get on twitter, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be an educator!
“Problems don’t exist. Challenges do. Take pride in finding the solution.