Monday, August 18, 2014

Make One Thing Better Each Day

Being an educational leader can be an overwhelming experience. Your time is rarely your own and the demands on the little time you have are quite staggering; especially when you are the only administrator in the school. Parents have questions and concerns, students have questions and concerns, the faculty have requests, questions, and concerns, and the staff does as well. All eyes are on you and they are all looking for some guidance and leadership.

Even though I'm new to the demands of the job, I think I have found a novel approach; or at least the approach is novel to me and that is worth something to my personal professional growth. The idea is very simply -- make one thing better each day. That's it. That's all. But that is a lot. Make one thing better each day. Improve something each day, even something small. Because if you make one thing better, even if everything else around you went horribly wrong, you can always look at the one thing and feel like something improved today. Tackling one problem that is outside of the regular job to make the school better each day builds momentum. People begin to notice the changes; they come up with ideas and ask to make their own changes; and little by little, day by day, you transform the culture.

During the weekend, Aysem and I came to campus with a group of students to clean up some areas of the school that were in desperate need of attention. Our Yoga and Art teacher, Kim Peterson, also came in to work on her room. The Yoga and Art Studio is our former secondary library, but many old items were still left in there and had been for years. Many, many old textbooks were gathered there for no reason; along with some old reading books that were simply in boxes and unsorted. Dozens of old trophies were also part of the mess. Working with the students, we moved all the old books and removed some old shelves. Now we have a Yoga/Art Studio. It still needs work, but we made headway. Something improved, something got better.

Kim has some great ideas for making the yoga program bigger. On the weekend, she asked me about allowing some of the mothers to have a morning yoga class. The room is available and the mom's like the connivence of dropping off their children and then getting a yoga session in on top of it. How cool is that service? Not my idea, but a great idea. I told her to go for it. Little by little, day by day, you transform the culture.

The elementary team noticed that Amie McRoberts has a great love for art. She inspires her G5 students with interesting projects. Currently, we don't have a K-12 Art teacher, but the elementary students love and want to have art. The team came up with the idea of covering Amie's class once a day, so she can cycle through the elementary classes teaching art. Now everybody gets art once a week. Things are better, there has been improvement. Not my idea, but great idea. I stood back and allowed the team to do it. Little by little, day by day, you transform the culture.