What did we learn? I mean,… What did we really learn? This, ladies and gentlemen, is an important question.
Let me go first.
I learned many things during the last year. I learned that I absolutely, positively cannot have Scoops in my pantry. I learned that wearing sweatpants with a shirt and tie was surprisingly easy to hide. I also learned that the timing of an Amazon delivery, which resulted in a barking dog, perfectly coincided with me having to unmute myself and speak with somebody. But enough about me…
What did YOU learn? I mean, what did you really learn that you can use? Don’t answer that, I actually know,…so just keep reading.
I worked with a lot of new principals and assistant principals over the past year. And I actually felt bad that they didn’t have a “normal” first year experience. After all, the pandemic took away most large events, it took away full classrooms, and it certainly altered some initiatives that new administrators were enthusiastic about putting into place. Many new administrators didn’t get a chance to go through that first cycle of implementing a new program. Many new administrators, especially if you were in a new building, did not get the wonderful experience of building relationships with staff and students at the outset of the year. New assistant principals even missed out on managing the chaos that only an overcrowded middle school lunchroom can bring. That’s a shame…
When I think about it, maybe you learned something even more valuable.
- …Managing in a crisis (and this certainly qualified), requires decisive decision making.
- …Managing in a crisis requires cooperation and collaboration from your full staff.
- …Managing in a crisis requires incredible communication on many different levels and in many different forms.
While everything may not have been smooth, and there were certainly many bumps in the road (often by no fault of the administrator, as information was constantly changing and often contradictory) things continually improved. Why? Because you learned.
More importantly, you put that learning to good use. Communication was stronger, key stakeholders were brought to collaborate and problem solve, and decisions were made swiftly and decisively, but only when there was solid information from which to make a decision.
Hopefully, next year will be “normal.” Hopefully,..September will be able to start with a full set of staff and students ready to make connections with each other. And first-year administrators will get a chance to learn some of the more “routine” things that occur in schools. When all of these wonderful things happen, know this – what you learned during the pandemic – and applying it – will make you a better administrator. You’ll know the importance of better communication, more purposeful staff collaboration, and more decisive decision making. Looking back, they are traits that took me years to learn in my administrative journey. Take advantage of it!
Now if you’ll excuse me, my son left a half a bag of Scoops in the pantry from when he came home this weekend. It’s time for queso!