SamTastic Weekly Tip – 1/3/22: This has been a weird school year…
This has been a weird school year…following a stressful and damaging first full year of the pandemic. We thought Covid would retreat with vaccine availability. We now understand that the pandemic, and the damage it wrought, isn’t over. It has simply mutated.
Usually, a school year starts with hope, enthusiasm and renewal. Usually, Christmas break and New Year’s Day creates a fresh infusion of positivity. That likely didn’t happen for most educators in August and might not today, either.
Uncivil behavior by airline passengers has captured our attention. But the truth is the same uncivil behavior can be seen throughout society and in our stores, roadways, offices and schools. It can be seen in how adults, parents and school staff, treat each other, how they interact with children and how children interact with everyone.
What does a leader, damaged by the pandemic like everyone else, do?
Try these approaches:
Go slowly. Show empathy instead of giving advice. Validate without getting stuck. Give yourself time to think through your response, or action.
“I understand you are upset and concerned. I am, too. I need some time to think about this.”
“I am concerned and know this is difficult. I want to think about possible solutions and will set a time to meet with you again.”
Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
Be in the GREEN with TimeTrack but leave significant unscheduled time. You need time to think and recharge.
Keep your conversation with teachers, support staff, students and parents positive and proactive. Be a reassuring coach rather than a judgmental evaluator. Make your focus creating a safe and happy place for students.
Go home at a reasonable time. Keep in mind that your work as a school leader can never be finished and rest and time with family are necessary for you to be at your best.