Be Attentive, Be Supportive

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In the now 14 years I’ve been teaching, I’ve never been told I was unsupportive and unavailable…that is…until this week. OUCH!!! It hurt me to the core! But, being the reflective person that I am, I had to take what I was given and respond to it. I had already been thinking that I’d dropped the ball; that I didn’t do everything I could have or SHOULD have, but I still found comfort in the fact that I had NEVER heard those words spoken to describe ME…until this week.

I am a leader in my school and in my district, I serve on several committees (all voluntarily), I am the identified grade level chair for my team, and I am a resident educator mentor. Quite a bit to handle in a year, but I thought I could handle it all. In fact, I needed every single one of those things to continue to build my leadership skills and in doing so; I probably neglected the most important responsibility of the year, the development of another educator. The exact place that holds my inner most passion at this particular moment in my life, I have fallen short. I came to the sudden realization that I may have taken on too much. I bit off more than I could chew. My plate is full. My cup runneth over! Well, you get the point. Nonetheless, I’ve been given this bit of information and now I need to do something with it!

I am not sure really, where this suddenly came from, but it didn’t matter at this point. All I knew was that I had to respond to it. It’s apparent that none of us is perfect. We wouldn’t be human if we were, right? But, I honestly believe that a sign of a great educator is to acknowledge his or her shortcomings when presented with them and then doing whatever is necessary to change them. When someone else points out a flaw in your leadership and/or your practice, if education is your true passion, it behooves you to correct that flaw. Assess yourself. What have you done well? What needs personal and/or professional attention? Did you contribute enough? Did you contribute too much? Did you ask enough questions? Did you ask questions at all? What will you do differently next time? In answering these many questions, maybe you will find that it means looking at your list of responsibilities and re-prioritizing them. Maybe it means clearing your plate. Maybe it means searching out professional development opportunities. Or, maybe it simply means being attentive and supportive…for someone else other than yourself.

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6 comments on “Be Attentive, Be Supportive

  1. vakunzmann says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is not in never falling that we grow. We grow only when we acknowledge our fall and begin to make our way back. And to do it in such a public forum is big time growth. It is difficult to assess one’s flaws. However, I agree completely that if education is your passion, you must correct the flaws. Good luck.

    • Thanks V! I appreciate that!

      I don’t know which was more painful! Hearing the words or realizing I impeded the growth of a fellow educator! A tough pill to swallow either way as far as I’m concerned! None the less, I accept it and I WILL grow from it. It will make me a better leader, no doubt!

  2. vakunzmann says:

    btw, great piece.

  3. Jen says:

    Wow… I admire your truth and honesty! Many times it is difficult to see short comings unless someone points them out… But you have to remember, as an educational leader, you have to synthesize these comments… Are they truthful, perception, or a mixture of both?? And even if you believe or not, others perception will reign. When taking upon leadership roles, we are under a microscope, and one’s perception can be a skewed view of your (our) reality. BUT… regardless, it is one’s view of ourself and we have to be cognizant of others views and be aware of our every decision and word. Miss you…

    • Thanks so much Jen! You are absolutely correct. Sometimes we get so caught up with ourselves that it may take someone else to open our eyes. And I agree that it’s absolutely necessary to synthesize such comments. I have since taken time to consider the motivation behind them. But what remains true in all of it, is exactly what you stated… when in a role of leadership, we need to be aware of the scrutiny that will come with every word, every action, every decision. Thank you for those supportive words! With every interaction, every experience, I choose to grow! 🙂 I miss you TOO!!!!

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