Here we are in 2009. I know that many posts in the past have dealt with the concept of change. I can easily say that 2008 was the year of change! New principal, new baby, working on a new degree, new responsibilities...the list goes on.
Let me tell you, the idea that there is a little person for whom I am completely responsible has affected me deeply. I read books. I talked with friends who are parents. I have been in education for over 10 years. I have been some one's child for almost 33 years. Nothing could have possibly prepared me for everything that has happened. I know it is cliche, but I guess I finally get it.
I guess that is all anyone can ask of someone else, to just get it.
In education, working with students, the number of times I have spoken to students about responsibility and accountability for ones actions is somewhere on the magnitude of 10^8 (and that is just counting from the first 5 years). When I was in the classroom, I used to joke that part of a type 75 certification program involved a frontal lobotomy that removed the "Get it" part of the brain. There were times when I wondered where could these decisions be coming from? What was the hypothesis? Where was the data that pointed to the conclusion that was arrived at?
So, when I became an administrator, I wanted to avoid those jokes being told of me. I was going to be different, an agent of change. I would always remember what it was like to be a classroom teacher and make sure that every decision was going to take the teacher's point of view and empower them in the classrooms.
Do I fall into the lobotomy category sometimes? Of course I do. As I continue in this path of administration I have noticed that I make mistakes, but I learn from them.
Case in point, we are providing an opportunity for every student and faculty member to watch the inauguration address on January 20th. What does this entail? We need to modify the bell schedule to account for the "assembly", we need to prepare our kitchen staff for the adjustment in their work day, we need to arrange for the video feed and locations in our building to house our populations to view the address, along with other logistical details. My responsibility...alter the bell schedule and class times.
This should be easy. (Ever said that to yourself and then kicked yourself?)
The first option presented to me was to have half of our students eat, then everyone watches the address, and then the other half eats. That just became a space nightmare for the lunch rooms and for the people who teach during one of those lunches. I altered the idea to have the bell schedule more closely follow our early dismissal schedule.
I liked this idea. It is something familiar, less changes needed, etc. But, I would have to remove a class from the day to account for the time in the assembly. I picked 8th hour. It is last, why shouldn't it be cut?
Here is where I got smart. I asked some teachers who walked by my office what they thought. They offered their opinion, understood why a class had to be removed and generally liked the idea. Some objections included that 8th hour usually gets cut, shortened class periods for the other classes make for some difficulties, etc. I told them that would take their suggestions into account when I presented the idea to the rest of our building administrative team.
I presented the questions that were brought to me. (I had even gotten thank yous from the teachers for including them). Our administrative team thought the idea was great. The schedule minimized disruptions and I even found a way to have all of the classes meet.
Long story short, in a told that some of our building admin were at, an edict was passed down that the other 2 buildings had created a schedule and the district admin could see no reason why our school should do anything different. (Putting aside the differences in our student populations, our cafeteria size, SES issues in our building...)
The idea that had gathered input from various stakeholders was now defunct and we were going along with the rest because we were told to.
My hope is continued...I hope that someday, people will get it.