A More Realistic Principal Job Description

shallow focus photography of books

A humorous look of what a principal job REALLY entails…

SCHOOL CHARACTERISTICS

Most of the staff is committed to the development processes associated with Continuous Improvement for this National Award Winning School. If they aren’t, the before-mentioned staff members are dragged kicking and screaming into the Continuous Improvement process. The process is designed into the operational structure of the school in many different ways, perhaps most notably in the work of the school based team, which depending on the day, determines how much animosity and fighting there is among the staff. Be prepared for rumors to start after said meetings.

Be prepared for teachers who do not want to develop themselves professionally because they know everything. Every meeting will be peppered with phrases such as: “I have been here for 48 years” and “We have always done it this way.”

POSITION INFORMATION

Contract Terms: 2 years (215 days annually) — which realistically is 365 days and 24/7 — be prepared to have absences documented and brought to your attention by people who really shouldn’t be concerned about it. Know you will have to navigate and answer to emails and phones from the “Big House” when someone calls them to tell you went to lunch and “cannot be found.”

Salary and Benefits: The salary is competitive and the fringe benefits are excellent, but does not reflect actual workload.

CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS

1. The applicant must possess or qualify for proper certification as an administrator and have additional training in psychology and verbal combat.

2. Successful experience as a teacher and building- level administrator is highly valued; but often overlooked and under-appreciated by the staff that works for you.

3. The successful candidate will be expected to:

a. Serve as a role model who manifests integrity, self-confidence, a commitment to quality and excellence, courage and a strong desire to focus decision making relative to a “ What Is Best for Kids” philosophy; You may not actually get to implement the practices in your time frame however because staff may not buy in. Have scheduling knowledge and be able to read people is a helpful skill.

Check out the post here.

Advertisements

Why I Love a Challenge!

My pledge to write a story a day in September and what I hope to gain!

A Challenge Begins

Saturday I’m starting a writing challenge to write 31 stories in the month of September. It sounds more daunting than it is for me because writing every day is my rhythm and what keeps me sane. I am a writer and am a much happier person and easier to live with when I put pen to paper every morning. Many days in response to my prompts I am writing a story so it isn’t much of a change.

Do not assume that because I’m writing a story a day that I’m not thinking about quality. I’m not just slapping words on a page to get them down. I’m crafting and creating.

Morning Pages

As part of my daily writing practice I write 3 pages of steam of consciousness writing as prescribed by Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way. They are labeled MORNING PAGES and are a brain dump of sorts. You write whatever comes to mind. The Artist’s Way is about a creative life and morning pages do not just apply to writers, but any creative person. Most of the words on these pages are not usable in a story or other article but they are important. The importance is the time AFTER I write in the morning.

The words I read, the podcasts and conversations I listen to, and the actions I experience the rest of the day have become clearer and more usable in my writing since starting the morning pages again. It also seems the more jumbled, scattered, and list like the morning pages are the better my writing is the rest of the day.

I don’t pretend to know how this works I just use it to my advantage.

WHY THIS CHALLENGE?

So why am I excited about the Storyaday challenge starting on Saturday?

The community.

I don’t need the community to write. I don’t have to remind myself to write just like I don’t schedule sleeping or eating. I love the feeling of camaraderie among moving forward and doing something they love. There is a specialness to the time carved out for this purpose.

Yesterday I was on a Zoom call talking to several other creatives. We talked about how we so enjoyed talking about the process of writing. How a seed of an idea becomes a story or a flash becomes a creative idea we pursue. The idea many be a podcast, a job change, an article, or a flash fiction story.

I’m excited for the conversations that are going to happen every day because I know that there are a handful of people that are doing the same challenge I am. They’re getting up, listening to a prompt, and thinking about the story that they are going to create that day. We are MAKERS.

The Ripple Effect

Yesterday afternoon I taught a reading/writing lesson in a 6th grade classroom. I read Billy Twitter and His Blue Whale Problem which is a silly story by Mac Barnett where a little boy gets a whale as a punishment. Billy has to take the whale everywhere.

The thinking strategy we talked about was SUBTRACTION. The question was posed: “What could they take out of the story to change it completely?”

There was excitement as different animals, settings, and situations were being assembled verbally before they wrote. After an initial time frame of writing, they all begged for mroe writing time. We talked about writing community and how we could work together to do a writing challenge like Storyaday September or NANOWRIMO in November.

Not only do I have an online writing community but I also have an IRL community with students I see several times a week now. My excitement for my creative communities inspire me to foster more around me.

My Two Writing Teachers and #TEACHWRITE communities inspire me as well for writing and teaching.

Right now I’m where I belong and doing what I am meant to do. A year from now I am certain it will look different, but I know I will be writing. I will probably be preparing for Storyaday September 2020.

I am also certain I will still be a part of at least one creative community. I find all of these practices life-giving and energizing -isn’t that what we’re all striving for? Let’s spread the love!

Happy writing and creating!

You can read the entire post here.

Weekend Coffee Share

It has been a fast week! I almost forgot it was Sunday time rolling back around. I think today I will have caramel syrup in my cup. I feel like having some sweet. What would you like to drink today?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this week was full of meetings at work. There were after school meetings and lots of conversations with teachers about planning and ILearn our state mandated test. I did a lot of running around between the 3 buildings I go between as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am excited Storyaday is starting next weekend. I do this challenge twice a year. In May and September I write a story a day. My online writing group came out of this challenge and I speak with at least one of the Superstars daily.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I took a writing class for 2 days. It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little. I had a hard time with the prompts which surprised me. They should have been within my wheelhouse. The prompts came later in the day and I was forced to write later in the evening after thinking about the prompt which is not my ideal time. I do have two new prompts to work with moving forward though. I will for sure use them again. It was fun to play. I did get two drafts done plus a third partial because of the class.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the idea of making space has been on my mind. There is space for community and interaction. I am the type of person who is quite solitary but I can build up ideas to a point where I want to share. Most of the time this is through writing, but sometimes I need people. I need to carve out space for things that energize me which I have not done well with since school started back.

Making space for writing, reading, and exercise is important as well. Honestly, sometimes just taking a moment of stillness too. I have so many priorities!

I am part of several communities but the interaction is not always at the level I crave at the moment. The 2 day class didn’t allow for the type of interaction among writers as a longer one allows so connections were not really formed sadly. I still haven’t quite figured out how to do that either which is part of the problem. Medium is a community as well and I interact with other writers through their pieces. I have my AW group also.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got into a flash fiction class for the end of September which I am excited about.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I picked up some great books at the library this week including The Little Swedish Kitchen! If anything it will inspire a story. I also picked up There, There have you read it? I keep hearing wondering comments about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you …this is your prompt! Finish the sentence for me. What have you been thinking about?

You can read the entire post here.

11 Questions Answered

clear glass bulb on human palm

Tim Ferris asks successful people 11 questions in his book Tribe of Mentors. I have answered his questions in order for you to know me a little better. I would love to hear your answers to these questions as well!

Comment here or on Medium!

“What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?”

I love books about life experiments and was immediately drawn to this book as soon as I heard about it. I believe in the idea that you are influenced by the people and books you surround yourself with. Megan had coffee with a new person to learn from them and also to make new connections.

“What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.”

  • Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain pen, black, fine nib
  • A pair of scissors in every room
  • $10 business cards that have writer printed on them — solidified the idea that I am really a writer

What new belief, behaviors, or habits, adopted within the last 5 years, have most positively impacted your life?

  • intermittent fasting
  • keeping only what I love
  • stop saying yes to things I want to say no to
  • study what is energizing and what is draining

What would you put on a billboard?

  • Everything is temporary — good and bad

Click here to read the entire Medium article.

Wednesday Update

person writing bucket list on book

It was asked yesterday how I did with my intentions.

I lived my day with fire.

I did down dog in the afternoon.

I wrote several times during the day.

I had FANTASTIC productive talks with teachers. I feel like I listened to what people were saying and trying to be helpful.

I wrote down 3 experiences from the day.

I did write down a random memory.

I did celebrate Llama Tuesday and said hello to as many students as possible! There were lots of smiles.

I did enjoy my beverages last evening! And my dinner too.

MY 10 ON TUESDAY:

I intend to live my day with fire today.

I intend to do at least one yoga pose.

I intend to write.

I intend to have meaningful, life giving conversations with teachers today.

I will intentionally listen to what needs my teachers are telling me through conversations.

I intend to pay attention to my surroundings today.

I intend to write down 5–10 experiences from my day.

I intend to write down a random memory.

I intend to smile and say hello to as many students today to celebrate Llama Tuesday!

I intend to enjoy a beverage when I get home from work.

What are your intentions today?

10 On Tuesday #SOL19

A writing prompt and a routine memory:

When I had my own classroom I provided a journal prompt on Tuesdays called 10 on Tuesday. I would provide a topic and the students would write a list of 10 things that fit.

I had an option in my room if students were compelled to write something they could “chuck” the topic — they just needed to let me know.

Some students would write a list of 10 words, some would write a list of sentences. Some would take an item from their list and write more about it or simply tell the whole story.

It was a change in format which met the needs of all of my writers.

Now on Tuesdays, I listen to Laura Tremaine’s “10 Things to Tell You” podcast. Listening this morning reminded me of this past activity. My writing prompt this morning was also a list so this post seemed appropriate!

I was going to write 10 Things I am Grateful For but decided instead to take a spin from Laura’s “What are your intentions?” topic.

My 10 on Tuesday:

I intend to live my day with fire today.

I intend to do at least one yoga pose.

I intend to write.

I intend to have meaningful, life giving conversations with teachers today.

I will intentionally listen to what needs my teachers are telling me through conversations.

I intend to pay attention to my surroundings today.

I intend to write down 5–10 experiences from my day.

I intend to write down a random memory.

I intend to smile and say hello to as many students today to celebrate Llama Tuesday!

I intend to enjoy a beverage when I get home from work.

What are your intentions today?

You can read this post on Medium here.

Writing Life VS Coaching Life

An examination of my identities

I identify myself multiple ways and with several labels.

I am a writer, a teacher, a coach, a runner, a friend, a wife, and a mother.

These main identities take over my daily to do lists and the habits I create in my life. Typically my thinking is organic of a thinker as I am, I do like a framework to navigate within. The caveat for me is I need to create the system. These systems often look like habits and routines for me and often overlap between my coach life and my writing life.

I have come to learn that perfectionism is not achievable. I strive toward it, but sometimes a project is good enough just to exist. I have learned it is a step in the process. This applies to writing, teaching and improving in general.

This past week I went back to work in a new role. I changed from coaching between two grade levels in one building to two separate schools spanning four grade levels. There are only about 4 people I knew before Monday in these schools. There was a lot of “peopling”. I had to introduce myself and my skills and start to build meaningful relationships so we can all work together.

To read the rest of this post click here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Fresh

Advice for starting with a new batch of coworkers

Starting work with new people can be intimidating but relationships matter. Here are some actions I kept in mind this past week as I started fresh with two new groups of colleagues.

  1. Go to the lunch you are invited to even if you are an introvert and usually do not eat lunch.
  2. Listen more than you talk.
  3. Smile
  4. Offer to help even if it is something small
  5. Ask questions — people like to talk about themselves and their roles
  6. Visit their environment but keep it low key.
  7. Don’t try to change anything…yet.

As I made the rounds yesterday in one of the new schools I now work in, I had quick conversations. The question I had at the ready was, “What is your favorite thing to teach?” Most of the teachers said math which was surprising to me. One showed off her wall of vocabulary.

I got even was gifted a loaf of fresh bread.

I heard from a reading teacher that a 10 minute number activity was something that changed her teaching. I always love hearing stories like this one. I was thrilled she shared it with me.

One teacher told me she was afraid of writing so we are working on it together this first trimester.

All week there was lots of peopling but I think it is going to be worth it. I am encouraged and excited for this year!