The Reflection Pool

Looking Back – Planning Forward

Our school year is drawing to a close. It’s a frantic time as all educators finish up year end tasks and plan for important occasions like graduation and even closing ceremonies. And yet…

Time goes byJune is the perfect time for reflection.  July can be too late; we’ve already checked out and started vacation. In August, the previous year can seem like a long time ago as we prepare for a new start.

I know all educators ask themselves if they accomplished their professional and personal goals with students and staff. Usually the answer is no, because we educators tend to set the bar high and focus on setbacks or even failures. We all need to take the time and remember all the wonderful and positive things we accomplished this year. What difference did you make to students, to colleagues, to parents, or to your boss? And let yourself feel good about it!

I am finishing my first year as a school superintendent. It’s been challenging, and I’ve learned more about myself as a formal leader and what’s necessary to be the kind of leader that can open up the conversation.  I’ve been reflecting about my own processes and organization for next year. More thoughts on that will come in a future blog post. I’ve also been thinking about great educators I’ve worked with or who taught me. For instance, my grade 8 teacher was genuine and honest. She really believed in me.  Colleagues in teaching showed me how to meet individual student needs, even when it was hard. Others showed me the power of an idea. Former principals encouraged me and let me stretch my wings, maybe in ways they weren’t always comfortable with. Superintendents said yes instead of no. And now I have supervisors who believe in me and allow me to make my own way.

I want to take these lessons and convert them into ongoing action as a superintendent of schools. I want to always be authentic with all the people I come in contact with. I want to believe in others’ ideas and support them as they learn. I want to say yes more than no.

What about you? Who do you remember from your schooling and your career? How can you synthesize the lessons you learned from them with your June reflections?