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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 6/3/24 - Groundhog Day

Today’s tip: Groundhog Day


I loved the movie.  Having a day repeat, over and over, made me laugh…until it made me think of mistakes I have made, over and over.


I was a teacher for seven years, a principal for ten and a superintendent for another ten…all before creating the SAM process with my wife, Carol, and friends, Jim, Jody, Bert and a host of others.  Much of the SAM process is a compilation of what I learned as a school and district leader. I wondered, “What could I do to be more effective?  How can I create the same environment/culture in a school or district that I accomplished in a classroom?”


When I reflect on my years as a school leader, it occurs to me that my learning usually was the result a mistake…but not all mistakes.  The mistakes I learned from were the ones that I did not, or could not, dodge.  After years of practice, I can admit to being an artful and expert dodger.  It is much easier to detail the reasons the problem is not mine…rather than taking ownership.


So, today’s tip is about deciding what to be reflective about.  It is easy to be reflective.  You can think about something for a few minutes.  Maybe talk to with your SAM…and maybe consider a change you’d like to make.


To be truly reflective, I think, you have to be transparent with yourself.  Focus on the problem being you, rather than the other person.  Be vulnerable.  Instead of thinking about what the other person needs to do to be better, think about what you need to do to be better for the other person. 


You selected “focus teachers” at the start of the school year when you set up your TimeTrack with your Time Change Coach and SAM.  Look at the dashboard reports for each of these teachers.  Did each get better this year, in terms of serving students, as a result of your work?  If not, what will you commit to do for the new school year?  Feeling brave?  Meet with each focus teacher, explain/share your data.  Explain what time you spent by descriptor.  Then, ask this question:If I were a better leader, what would I do differently that would help you be a better teacher?


Then, take the suggestion.  Even if the feedback is highly critical, unfair and insulting…Cowboy up, swallow hard and say thanks.  Then, do exactly what was suggested.


Your job is really hard.  It is complex, and, many times, overwhelming.  Allow yourself the freedom to be truly reflective. 

Registration opens Labor Day

18th Annual National SAM Conference

January 16-19, 2025

Loew’s Miami Beach



30+ Breakout Sessions Featuring National Presenters and SAM Practitioners



A few things to consider when planning to attend:


  • To be eligible to attend, you must be a TimeTrack owner or SAM doing the process with efficacy, NSIP staff, Board member or presenter.

  • Conference fees:

    • $2,895 covers three nights at the hotel, conference sessions, food/beverage, books, and ground transportation

    • $895 covers the all-day pre-conference and includes the extra night at the hotel, sessions, food/beverage, books and ground transportation

    • $429 covers additional nights at the hotel after the conference—we have secured additional rooms Sunday night as we expect many attendees will want to stay Sunday and travel home Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

    • $545 covers the cost of bringing a spouse or significant other—the fee covers the cost of ground transportation and evening events

A Message From Your SAM: 

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