Look How Far We’ve Come

My first year as an administrator is coming to a close. I wrote a blog post about my first day nine months ago. At that time, I was so nervous. Afraid of the unknown, hoping I didn’t look as terrified as I felt, and legitimately wondering if I was prepared for the challenges that would come.

Now that the 19-20 school year is coming to a close, I’m looking back and reflecting on how far we’ve come. I started the year mostly worried about the logistical pieces of my new job.  It was all very intimidating to me at first. Compared to the challenges the world is facing now, those pale in comparison. But thinking about the way I tackled those challenges has helped me to make some important insights.

The other day my daughter and I were chatting about the challenges of communication during the school closure. She said, “Your job is like 50% relationships.” I laughed and said, “Ha! Relationships are 90% of the job!” I said it without thinking, but since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

Relationships are 90% of the job. That’s how we tackle challenges. Together.

Sure, we’ve got to have knowledge, skills, and dispositions appropriate to the role we’re in. (And goodness knows we’ve all had to level up our tech skills these past six weeks!) But think about your daily school tasks. Is there any part of your school day that isn’t made easier or harder by the relationships you’ve cultivated (or not)?

When I think about the intimidating parts of my job I described earlier, relationships have made all the difference in the outcome.

When I do any part of my job, I rely on the relationships I’ve cultivated with the teachers, students, and families in order to gather the facts, listen to perspectives, and then make decisions. When it comes to any new or difficult task, I partner with a trusted colleague, analyze the existing information, decide what new information is needed, then do what I can to learn more. Relying on relationships with colleagues, students, and families during difficult moments not only carries me through the stress but also strengthens the trust within those relationships. The next time a difficult moment comes along, we’ve already laid some reliable groundwork. We’ve built trust by trusting.

We don’t know yet what the next school year is going to look like. Will we have a delayed start date? Will we have to open school ‘closed’? Will we have to open at 50% capacity? Even with the uncertainty of the 20-21 school year ahead, we will move forward anyway doing what we did this year—building relationships, relying on one another, and moving forward, making the best decisions we can.

What are some ways you’ve relied on your colleagues to tackle challenges during the school closure? Please share!

 

Image credit:

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

 

Randi Fielding

My education career started in 2006 when I began volunteering in my children’s elementary school. During the time my kids were little, I attended college part-time, taught Art Masterpiece, and volunteered in their classrooms. I fell in love with education and knew I wanted to become a classroom teacher. I eventually graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State University and became a first-generation college graduate. I began teaching in 2013 and have worked in special and general education, in elementary schools and high school. I’ve taught everything from reading and math to English, social studies, and strategies. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2017. Knowing that my impact could be greater than a single classroom, I returned to ASU for my Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and graduated in 2018. I’m now an administrator in a rural school district and use every bit of my background to connect with kids, teachers, and families.
A theme throughout my life has been “Always Improving.” In addition to full-time work as an administrator, I support teacher growth in my school district by leading professional development and serving on district committees, teaching Pre-Candidacy courses and coaching National Board candidates. I’m also a member of the Arizona K12 Center’s Teacher Solutions Team and blog for Stories From School Arizona. Additionally, I’ve presented professional development at the state and national level at the annual AZCEC/AZCASE Conference and at the National Co-Teach Conference.
When I’m not working, writing, or reading, I enjoy bicycling with my husband, hanging out with my kids, bullet journaling, and roller skating.

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