Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some thoughts inspired by today

Today was day two of my adminstrator program. Second day in a row of waking up at 6 am meant that I was a little sleepy, but I still found the day to be rather thought provoking.

I found myself, over the course of the two days, thinking about perceptions. How I perceive things, how others perceive things and how I am perceived. I found myself thinking back to meetings I have sat in, committees I have sat on and conversations I have had.... and I began to wonder: have I always put my best out there? I also began to wonder about the bigger picture. There are times when it is perfectly obvious that there is a bigger picture that I might not know about, and those times I'm normally able to recognize that and understand that I don't have all of the pieces of the puzzle. But there are those other times when it feels like I know enough to get a sense of the bigger picture, and I find myself incredibly frustrated by that knowledge. But now I wonder, did I really know, or was I too quick to jump to conclusions that supported what I was already thinking?

One of the speakers told us that being an administrator means that you are, on many levels, in a fishbowl. Everyone will scrutinize what you say and do, even what you wear. She advised us to start thinking about that now.....and another speaker advised us that we should become known as the person who is fighting for children, regardless of our roles within our school setting.

I have a friend who has already gone through the degree program I am in and just landed a job as an Assistant Principal in our district. There reached a point in his schooling where he started to give me what I liked to call "administrator answers" during our conversations. I used to call him out on it and ask him for what he really thought. He would laugh and respond with a new thought. And then when he landed his job, I used to send him emails of what not to do as an administrator. Now I realize that he was probably going through the same thought process I am going through....I am sure he was thinking about his words, and how they would make him appear. I believe that he ended up telling me his true thoughts because, ultimately, he knew that I already held him in the highest regard, and because he knew that I would keep his words to myself if necessary.

All of a sudden that phrase "it's lonely at the top" makes sense. If administrators are always thinking about perceptions, who do they ever get to be honest with? Who do they get to vent to? Who gets to hear what they really think, or what they really want to say? This thought leads me to friendship: I want to hope that my principal, and all administrators out there, have one true friend. One person that they can say anything to, and that person will recognize that no matter what they say, they are still a good person and a good administrator. I hope that my administrator has one person in his life where he doesn't have to worry about perceptions. I want to believe that administrators have that because I hope that I can have that one day.

I'll end my rather confused ramblings with a quote from the day that spoke to me:
"Seek to understand, before being understood."


Anonymous said...

Quite the contrary, not confused ramblings ---but well written and thoughtful sentiments by a person on the verge of stepping up to the next level.

Tina said...

You have Russ, who understands because he is a teacher too. You have your family, who might not get it the same way but like to hear the honest answer. And is sounds like you have at least one colleague who can speak openly with you. Keep these relationships close as you move forward, and with the new ones you develop on the way, you will have all you need.