“Connection and Curiosity”
One of the best things about being a school administrator is that you don’t need to add a five
minute monologue explaining what your job is to your friend’s partner at a barbecue. You know what I’m talking about. Someone tells you that they are a “User Interface Designer” or
“Amalgamator”, and you either have to nod your head and act like you know what that is, or
brace yourself for words like “essentially”, “consult”, “holistic”, as they painstakingly detail their
work for you.
No, all you have to say is, “I’m a [Insert your school title here]”, and no questions asked. Just
looks of delight or horror. It all depends on their experience with a principal they knew along the way, or a school administrator they’ve worked with at their kid’s school.
In recent years, I have noticed people’s reactions trending toward the positive. They realize how difficult this position has been the last couple of years. Some even bring up their own child’s principal and praise the job they have done. I admit that in years past, hearing all the wonderful things people said about another person doing the same thing as me used to feel
overwhelming, especially if I just took over that person’s job. But recently, I have felt a sense of
pride whenever people glow about their kids’ principal. The person they are talking about is
making me look good by representing the title of school principal with pride! How cool is that?
One of the special things about being a part of UASSP is that you get to surround yourself with
people who get it. They are the same people who shudder at the words “dress code” and “point of contact” because they too have been the middle man in a crazy world. They understand why you need to be at that event or do that extra thing, because it matters. They too have felt the feeling you get when you discover you made a difference in the life of young people. It’s refreshing to be able to connect with other administrators without having to set up the background knowledge. They already know.
The other benefit of membership in this organization is self improvement. I can attribute so
much of my personal and professional development to presentations, articles, workshops, book
recommendations, dialogue and relationships provided by this organization. I’ve seen my
improvement translate to my school’s growth. I admire people who never stop learning–the
principals who are trying to get better everyday. The curious ones.
May connection and curiosity lead you to new heights this year. May it provide mental stability
and a sense of unity. May it help you get better just enough to make positive change at your
school. And Let it give you the strength to ask that follow up question when someone tells you
that they are an “outplacement consultant” at your friend’s barbecue. 😉