As educators I think we all have days...maybe weeks or months where we wonder if the work we are doing has an impact on kids, families, and communities. Sometimes we can get caught up in the routine of “doing school” and the days run together. In those times it is nice schedule something to bring the focus back together. Sometimes it just happens...
Yesterday we had 2 events that made me walk out of the door feeling incredible about what our teachers do everyday. Both were part of our routine, but there were pieces that made me look at things differently...and it was wonderful. Each month we have an all school meeting...consisting of birthday announcements and a story centered around a theme for the month or some of the PBIS data we have addressed as a need. This month our meeting fell in the same week as Homecoming (we are a K-12 building...which is awesome and the subject of a blog post in the near future) and specifically on 80s dress up day at the high school. So...we did a quick contest with the elementary staff in which we split into two groups, I gave a song title from the 1980s and they had to tell me the artist. All 385 students were the judges and pointed to group that got the answer correct. It was meant to be very quick. As I looked at the 2 groups from the back of the gym I had this overwhelming sense of pride...not because they knew the answers (even though a few were born in the 80s!) but because I saw them laughing as they went through the game...genuinely laughing...and enjoying just being together. It was great.
The second event happened after school at our all staff meeting. We have been talking at great length about Finding Super in kids. I asked our staff members to bring their class lists to the meeting and when they got there I gave them some time to look at each student on their roster and write down what they believed to be that child’s superpower. As I watched them write I noticed a few things. First and foremost...it didn’t take them long to identify a superpower for each student...which made me feel great about the relationships they have formed. One of the real stories to me was the look on their faces as they wrote. A smile, little chuckle, nodding of the head...it was subtle, but they were so invested in the process of identifying great things about their students...and that was very cool. I asked them to share a few superpowers of kids with the people at their table and the conversations were awesome. Teachers who had particular students in the past added their view, they were laughing, and I could really tell that they really knew their students. The follow up was simple...do the kids on your list know their superpower? Have you told them? At 3:00 today our kids will walk out of this building poised for a 3 day weekend...and I have no doubt that they will know their superpower on the way out of our doors.
I love our staff. I love that they are honest, even when it it uncomfortable. I love that they tell me to put my phone away. I love that they tell me to slow down. I love that they are willing to have tough conversations. I love that they take on additional tasks because they know the work needs to get done. I love that they laugh together. I love that they are willing, absolutely and unequivocally,to do what is best for kids.
I hope every leader has a day like yesterday. A day where you walk into school thinking it is just another Wednesday and walk out knowing that the collective effort is making a difference in the lives of kids. We are not perfect...but that is not the expectation. The expectation is continued growth and working toward our vision of a “Community that works, learns, and succeeds together.” There is no other group that I would want to take that journey with than the one that resides at 336 E. Hoover Ave in Fall Creek Wisconsin. Go Crickets.