Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thinking about Schools...

I've been thinking about work a lot lately. In large part, it's been on my mind because of budget and staff cuts and all the changes that are coming with that. I think another reason it's been on my mind is becuase I've been a mentor for the last several months to someone seeking administrative certification and it's made me more self-reflective as I think about what it means to be an administrator and what I would want to ensure a new administrator knows and can do.

What do I believe about education? I believe that teachers do change lives. I believe that for some kids, just being in school is a big accomplishment and should be celebrated. I believe that while there are lots of teachers working very hard every day, we have not figured out how to really make the best use of time in school, and we need to rethink this current model. I believe that school needs to be a community, and should look and feel more like an extended family. I believe that we need to be organized in nuclear units of members who are together long enough to form bonds of trust, honesty and expectations. I believe that kids know who is interested in them and who isn't, and kids (and teachers) will always oppose authority coming from someone who hasn't taken the time to know, value and appreciate them.
I believe that we need to work hard at listening to each other. We have to find ways around and under and over the inconvenience of making schools better. School improvement will only happen when we stop pretending it's not broken. I believe high school is a battleground and most adults are oblivious to it. I believe that we are all fallible, and we get farther by admitting our weaknesses and mistakes, than pretending we don't have any. I believe that the most important quality for an administrator is to be ethical and to do the right thing even when no one is looking. I think that's a good rule for everyone.
I believe we have a choice every day to make someone else's life easier or harder. I know that I take the greatest joy when I hear about someone just being kind because they could. I wish we could focus more on the accomplishments of character, than the achievement of grades. I believe that we come up with better solutions as a group than any of us would on our own. I believe that none of us want to be excluded or left out. We all want to sit at the grown-ups table. I believe that separating students with disabilities from their non-disabled peers may be easy for adults, but it's HARD on kids.
I believe that each of us that is in a school everyday can make a difference in some one's life. Pay attention, say Hello, offer to help, enjoy being there, like what you do and who you are doing it with, be excited about learning something new, be enthusiastic about the countless opportunities to explore, the adventures not yet taken - be real! Be who you are, encourage others to do the same! Celebrate diversity and differences and risk-takers and boundary pushers and free thinkers. SHOW UP! LISTEN UP! GROW UP! OPEN UP!

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