I have begun my second year as an elementary principal. Honestly last year was just blurry. So it should be different this year, right? Actually it is. As I prepared for the “first” staff meeting, the “first” parent meeting, the “first” day, I was more aware, more nervous. Last year I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I just jumped in. This year, however, I know what I don’t know and have different expectations, higher expectations.
Things are different. I didn’t really realize until our first staff meeting, I was nervous. I don’t recall being nervous last year; I think it was just survival mode. But this year as I addressed the staff I was anxious and more cognizant of who was in the room. I found myself noticing faces and expressions, strengths and experience. It sounds strange to say, but I was fully present, taking in the moment. But why did I have this “take your breath” away feeling? How is it different this year?
We have several new teachers, but we did last year too. We added new special education self-contained programs to our campus, but we had several self-contained classes last year. Many teachers and staff are the same. But this year, the teachers and staff who stayed made a conscious choice, a commitment to our students and to our school. So did I. I am invested, I believe in our staff, our students, our parents and our school. Not that I didn’t believe last year, it’s a different level of conviction this year. There is a different level of urgency, a shared purpose and responsibility.
Staff expectations have changed. Parent expectations have changed. Student expectations have changed. My expectations have changed. I believe together our school can achieve greatness. I am committed to shared leadership, building strong community and family partnerships with a focus on teaching and learning. I believe all students can learn and grow. I am committed to student learning and growth in a safe, supportive and collaborative environment. I will provide opportunities for all staff, parents, families and students to collectively share this responsibility.
But, what if I don’t live up to staff expectations, parent expectations, student expectations, and my expectations?