Lately it has been easy to let the days and weeks slip away. October seems like it was months ago. November is just a few days from becoming December. Student-led conferences, report cards and progress notes, IEP and 504 meetings, grade level plc’s, district and school initiatives, parent classes, national board pre-candidacy classes, grade level leadership cafes, fall festival, leadership meetings, staff professional development, teacher evaluations and the turkey trot quietly absorbed our attention and energy. I think we get absorbed in our daily responsibilities and forget the impact we have on students, parents and our colleagues. We miss out on opportunities to positively impact the people we care about.
Knowing the next several weeks will go even faster than the last few, I wonder how to stay focused and balanced. As an administrator I need to stay in tune with student and family needs, as well as staff and teacher needs. This time of the year creates additional stress and anxiety for everyone. So for me it’s making sure I am fully present. Sometimes it is as simple as listening, giving people space to put their problems or concerns out there. Small things become more challenging and often escalate into barriers. So not only being fully present, but also more available for those on the go, during the day, one-on-one conversations. For me that means being more observant and in tune to people’s needs. Maybe it is as simple as smiling or stopping to check in with a student, staff member or parent.
So what things do I have control over that I have not necessarily had in check over the past month? Have I been out and visible in all classrooms, lunch, recess and duties? No, I have been bunkered down in classes doing evaluations. I know I work better when I have important things scheduled. Problem solved, right? Schedule time to walk through classes and touch base with students, schedule time to be present at arrival and dismissal to greet and check in with parents, schedule time to stop into classrooms when teachers are on prep to say hi and assess their needs. Now I have a plan to navigate through the next three weeks.
How will you stay mindful and fully present for your students, parents and other colleagues?