Rearview Mirror

Let’s be perfectly honest, reflection at any time of the year is hard, let alone in the moment or in real time. This is especially true as the year winds to a close. In schools, we witness and experience extreme behaviors in not only those we work with, but our scholars and parents, too. Today’s blog is a reminder of how easy it is to lose sight of what is often most important. This is a recollection of one morning leading up to winter break. 

6:30 am – I can hardly keep my thoughts on driving. I am thinking about teachers and paraprofessionals who are out sick today.  Will we have enough guest teachers to cover their classes? Will we have to merge or be creative in how we cover classes? I am also thinking about our mid year benchmark assessment scores and wondering whether or not we are moving our scholars in the right direction? Are scholars mastering the standards that have been taught and demonstrating growth?  Are we doing what we need to do, to support our scholars, parents and teachers? I’m also thinking about conversations with teachers and staff about what needs to happen or change to help impact teaching and learning and move the dial?  

I’m thinking about a leadership café that we have scheduled this morning where our kindergarten teachers and scholars have been practicing their class mission statements and songs related to the seven habits. During the cafe scholars will present and perform for their parents, guardians and families. Will parents and families come out to support their children? I wonder which scholars will step up and MC the event. I always leave these events with such a proud feeling of accomplishment, knowing our teachers really know their scholars and have committed to communicating their worth and potential so clearly that the scholars see it in themselves.

I am also thinking about the mid year retirement of one of our classified staff members. I wonder who will replace him? How will we replace his positive, kind heart. Who will check in with the scholars during breakfast and lunch? Will they stop and listen? Will they pause long enough to really know and understand who our scholars are? I have a lot of different things going through my mind and it’s hard to stay focused on driving. 

I am only two stop signs and two traffic lights into my morning commute. And already, I am so deep in my head that I’ve lost sight of being present and mindful. I can’t seem to pause my thinking long enough to focus on anything. Then by the third stop sign, it happens. I look in my rearview mirror and there it was.  An amazing sunrise that filled the morning sky with shades of purple, red, orange and yellow. I kept looking back as though it would suddenly disappear. I checked my rearview mirror and my side mirrors, it was real. I pulled my car to the side of the road, got out and stood in the cool morning air looking at this magnificent morning sky. The morning sky that I would have missed if I had stayed lost in my thoughts. I wondered how or what I could do to stay present today. I didn’t want to miss anything else. How could I see everything that’s happening around me and not get caught in my head and lose sight?

How do you stay focused? How do you not get caught in a whirlwind or just sucked into your own head? What strategies do you use to stay present?

 

 

Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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