Monday, February 6, 2017

It is Worth It

Principal ponderings...

Ever have one of those days where things just seem to go wrong?  Ever teach a lesson and think...that stunk?  Ever have a week where you doubt yourself and think maybe I am in the wrong profession?  My answer to those questions is yes!  In fact, last week was one of those weeks.  There was absolutely a lot of good that happened throughout the week, but that was overshadowed by bad and sad news, days where I felt unproductive, and really, really tough parent meetings and emails.

And then a combination of things happened this weekend to help snap me out of my funk.  First, I had the chance to spend a day with other MA leaders from across the state at an edCamp.  What is an edCamp?  One of the participants just blogged about it.  Read about it here.  I helped organize this event which is a free day of PD.  It was so re-energizing to get to attend impromptu sessions and talk about topics like "unconference staff meetings", social emotional learning and peer observations.  I learned about so many great resources and ideas!  It was a Saturday spent talking about work, but it was a really a day that fueled my educational soul.  And after a tough week, my tank was definitely running low!  (There are some upcoming edCamps for educators coming up...check out edCamp Boston, tickets are available today!  This event is free, but it is so popular that they have to limit the tickets they give out.  There is another edCamp in March that is put on by a principal friend of mine.  Check out edCamp North Quabbin!

I was definitely starting to feel better after Saturday, and then I received two emails that reminded me that it's all worth it.  The first email was from one of our parents.  We have had her child at FloRo since he was in kindergarten and now he's a 4th grader.  Being able to look back and see how much he has grown over the years is truly remarkable.  We are in the business of helping kids grow and learn, but sometimes we forget to stop and look back at where they started and where they are today.  This parent did exactly that for us.  She sent an email to all of the teachers and staff and administrators who have worked with her child.  She is grateful for what everyone has done for her child, and she took the time to let us all know that.  Not all parents do that, but when they do, it sure puts a smile on my face.

The other email I received came from a 20 year old sophomore studying illustration at the Mass College of Art and Design in Boston.  I was her 2nd grade teacher.  She searched my out, and found my address, not an easy task since when I taught her I was in a different district and had a different married name!  In the email, she talked about wanting to reach out to me for a while.  She has been holding onto a postcard that I sent her after teaching her, saying that I hoped she would send me a copy of her first book.  When I had her in 2nd grade she loved to write and she loved to draw.  She wanted to thank me for helping to encourage her creativity at a young age.  She said she might not be sending me a copy of a book she wrote, but she certainly plans on sending me a children's book that she illustrated someday.  She told me that she still has the stories she wrote and the pictures she drew in my class in her room at home.  Her main motivation for writing me this weekend was that she had just been to a speaker, Timothy Basil Ering, who has illustrated many books.  In fact, he illustrated Kate DiCamillo's book, The Tale of Despereaux.  I read that book to my 2nd graders, and this student remembered loving listening to that read aloud.  She took that as a sign to reach out to me.  And I am so glad she did.  With tears in my eyes, I read her email out loud to my husband.  Funny thing is I have one of the poems she wrote, kept it all these years because I just loved it.  I can't wait to tell her about that when I write back to her.

So it was a rough week last week for me.  But this weekend I have been reminded that it is all worth it.  When it seems like things aren't going well.  Or when you are discouraged.  You have to remember that you are making a difference.  We have the ability to change lives, impact students, guide them towards an awesome future.  So those bad days or weeks...they are worth it.  Just stop and think about where your students have started and what you have done with them.  Hopefully that will help turn those tough days around.

And can be down 28 to 3, score a bunch of touchdowns, add in some two point conversions, go into the first ever Super Bowl overtime, and win the game!  A bad first half of the game, does not mean it's over.  All the's worth it!

Currently reading:
I am looking towards reading a new book that I just added to my Amazon cart: Escaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank.

Events this week:
Monday - Alisa, 4th grader, Principal for the Day!
Tuesday - Happy 100th Day of School! School Council meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday! 2nd grade chorus practice @ 2:20, PTA Meeting @ 7:00
in the cafeteria
Thursday - 2nd grade chorus practice @ 2:25
Friday - Liz at Superintendent Screening Committee Meeting 5:30 - 8:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Thanks to Luke, Audra and Julie for setting up a technology meet and greet in the library on Thursday.  Teachers got to see the green screen in use, traveled to Antarctica through virtual reality glasses, and played with some fun apps.
  • Global School Play Day was so much fun!!  Loved popping into all of the different rooms and seeing kids playing all sorts of games.  Definitely looking forward to more days of play. 
  • Have you seen the rope climbing that has been going on in the gym?  Check out the "born to climb" sloth cards...way to go FloRo students, trying hard and reaching goals! 
  • Mrs. Nissi's 4th graders were working on creating complexity in their characters during writer's workshop. 
  • Audra Kaplan, the digital learning coach who will be spending time at FloRo, was spending some time in Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Smith's class.  Students were working on adding photos and comments on kidblog. 

Check it out:
Some good points about essential edtech:
This Wednesday night, join the #MESPAchat Twitter chat!  We have Todd Nesloney, author of Kids Deserve It, moderating the chat!  Starts at 8:00.

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