I recently had the opportunity to listen to this commencement speech by David Foster Wallace again. It is worth a listen. It is a reminder that we all have the opportunity to make magic. This opportunity can come in the smallest moments, with the most unlikely collaborators.
This is what we do as educators if we are lucky enough to remember that this is both our opportunity and job. Making magic is our job...it is good to remember this.
You learn so many things in teacher/administrator school, and I am not saying those skills are bad, but they often feel disconnected and less important than what shows up at your door each day in your new role: Angry parents, stressed out faculty, students with complex problems in need of dual diagnosis, and wicked systemic issues impacting school culture, pedagogy and practice. You might wonder, "Did I miss these classes in the curriculum?" Your schooling was what is called necessary, but not sufficient. If you are like many school leaders, you need further support that includes capacity building, conversations and the ability to make new connections and see pathways forward. You don't need therapy yet, but you may in the future if you don't find some new ways to help you process, reflect and grow. Coaches are not neutral, they work for you. Much like teachers advocating for students, coaches exist to support you, and this can be a very productive use of an hour once or twice a month.
This is the time of year where people start taking new jobs, and transition hits a school like they were not expecting it. It is a reminder to all of you in leadership positions that people who are not happy in their schools look for jobs without telling people, and then they let you know in February, March and April. A certain amount of turnover is inevitable, but today, I thought I would highlight the missed opportunity that seems to have the highest impact with educators. Recognition.
As schools, we do a great job of honoring those teachers that leave each year. We get them a plaque or a clock or a ____________. We thank them for their great work and people clap.
Instead or in addition to, I am suggesting that you call out the teachers that are staying and do two things:
Ok, you can still give a clock...Let's not get crazy here...
Dear College Admissions Offices: