Sometimes life has a funny way of delivering what I call “reminder letters” as a way to not only encourage us to take time to self-reflect, but to also remind us that we are all responsible for carrying the banners for others; whether it be for our students, teachers, schools, our family or our community.
Well, the mailman delivered today in so many ways I felt inspired to write about it
I had the good fortune of starting my day by meeting with a former teacher in our district @benedriscoll. He stopped by to visit with me about our Home Visit program and during our visit he informed me that he had just been offered an assistant principal position at the middle school where he was working. As he shared his story about the interview process, I felt a sense of excitement come over me; the kind that causes the hairs to rise up on your arm. Ben’s energy, passion, and excitement were evident as he spoke about his students and his school. But it was the following comment that moved me. “I told the superintendent that I was ready to be an assistant principal, that I wanted to be a leader at that school because I felt like many other people who worked there only did so until they could move on to another school. I told him I wanted to be there and not anywhere else.” What was so refreshing about Ben’s comments was how he talked so positively about the school, the students, and the staff that currently was in place. “We are young,” he said, “but the staff that is there really believes in the kids and want to be there.”
So often when we are working in a school which is viewed by some as challenging, it is easy to fall into the trap of talking negatively about our school. Our energy is spent on complaining about the kids, the parents, lack of resources, the administration, mandates, etc. What is lost in the translation is that others are not only listening, but also taking the same message and transferring it to others in the school community. Over time, these negative comments can become very damaging and begin to unfairly label a school as a poor performing school with low morale, a negative environment, or worse yet, a school culture that doesn’t care about kids. By not carrying the banner for our schools in a positive light, we begin to lose our sense of pride, our identity, our desire to invest in our community. Ben’s words reminded me of how important is to always be ambassadors for our organizations so that our message is always one of commitment and solidarity.
A few days ago I was touched by a post written by @KleinErin. In her post she described in detail the following interaction that we had at #ISTE13.
However, after dinner, we sat down with a few of our friends and began discussing what makes our schools so special. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be surrounded by people you admire sharing positive ideas. So often, it seems like people get together and discuss what isn’t working… even if their intention is to be positive and constructive. However, our focus this evening was only on the good and how we could adopt the awesomeness of what each other were doing to bring back to our own practice.
When I saw what she had shared in writing, I felt proud that I had carried our school’s banner in a positive light. By doing so, it then led to Erin carrying the banner for our school as well in her post. We cannot underestimate the powerful impact that speaking positively about our organization can have not only on the culture, but the people who work in that environment as well. Through Erin’s post the message about our school will now reach out to thousands of her followers across the globe.
The news that Rita Pierson passed away unexpectedly today hit me hard. Just a few months ago, Rita delivered a powerful message for Ted Talk, sharing a passionate message about how every child deserved to have a champion. As a principal who believes that every child deserves an opportunity to be a part of something great, Rita’s heartfelt message moved me and inspired me to write a blog “Leaders Sit on the Front Porch.” You see, Rita was carrying the banner for not only her school, but for her community, for TED and most importantly, for ALL kids! Our profession lost a great one today.
Tonight, I was finally able to go back and watch @adambellowclosing keynote from #ISTE13 – “You’re Invited to Change the World.” Wow! What an amazing and uplifting talk. As I sat and watched Adam’s talk, I was filled with an emotional flood of positive energy. I felt Adam’s presence as he carried the banner for his children, his family, his former students and schools, for all teachers…for all educators. I only wish I could have been in the audience to feel his passion and be a part of carrying the banner with him. Imagine the path the banners he championed for at #ISTE13 will take over the next few months as his message is viewed over the internet thousands of times. What a powerful and positive message!
And just about the time I was getting ready to turn in for the night, I received a tweet from my colleague and newly hired Dean of Students @ColinWikan that read:
I just posted my first blog! Be gentle!! Thank you @casas_jimmy colinwikan.blogspot.com
To say I was proud would be a huge understatement. I was not only genuinely touched, but moved by his “reminder letter” about the courage, fortitude, resiliency and high degree of positivity it takes sometimes to carry the banner for others when it seems like your time will never come. It is in these moments where true leaders rise above and make their impact.
What a great time it is to be an educator. If we have learned anything at all from Rita’s passing it is that our time on this earth is short and precious. While we are here, let’s all commit to make the most of it by carrying the banner for others. By doing so, as Adam Bellow shared, we can change the world together.
Be the Change!
What you notice, give attention to, talk about, get all worked up over emotionally is what you are inviting into your life, whether you mean to or not. – Catherine Ponder