Staying Mindful

Lately it has been easy to let the days and weeks slip away. October seems like it was months ago. November is just a few days from becoming December. Student-led conferences, report cards and progress notes, IEP and 504 meetings, grade level plc’s, district and school initiatives, parent classes, national board pre-candidacy classes, grade level leadership cafes, fall festival, leadership meetings, staff professional development, teacher evaluations and the turkey trot quietly absorbed our attention and energy. I think we get absorbed in our daily responsibilities and forget the impact we have on students, parents and our colleagues. We miss out on opportunities to positively impact the people we care about.

Knowing the next several weeks will go even faster than the last few, I wonder how to stay focused and balanced. As an administrator I need to stay in tune with student and family needs, as well as staff and teacher needs. This time of the year creates additional stress and anxiety for everyone. So for me it’s making sure I am fully present. Sometimes it is as simple as listening, giving people space to put their problems or concerns out there. Small things become more challenging and often escalate into barriers. So not only being fully present, but also more available for those on the go, during the day, one-on-one conversations. For me that means being more observant and in tune to people’s needs. Maybe it is as simple as smiling or stopping to check in with a student, staff member or parent.

So what things do I have control over that I have not necessarily had in check over the past month? Have I been out and visible in all classrooms, lunch, recess and duties? No, I have been bunkered down in classes doing evaluations. I know I work better when I have important things scheduled. Problem solved, right? Schedule time to walk through classes and touch base with students, schedule time to be present at arrival and dismissal to greet and check in with parents, schedule time to stop into classrooms when teachers are on prep to say hi and assess their needs. Now I have a plan to navigate through the next three weeks.

How will you stay mindful and fully present for your students, parents and other colleagues?


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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