What I love most about my job is that I am in a continuous learning cycle. It is impossible to be stagnant or bored because there are learning opportunities all around me. I have amazing mentors that I learn from on a daily basis, gladly sharing and modeling their expertise, while challenging me with questions and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I am incredibly thankful to be surrounded by the best of the best. Not only are they great leaders themselves, but they are excellent at developing leaders. They don’t just preach the Multiplier Effect and Growth Mindset, they model it, live it, and believe in it. My principal is the king of thought-provoking questioning tactics. He will often present an issue, ask me what we should do, and then question my reasoning. At first I was worried I’d answer incorrectly. I was hesitant. I have learned that there really is no wrong answer. He is questioning me to cause me to reflect and look at the big picture. Over time I am now more confident in my responses and enjoy the process of learning and reflecting. He has created an environment where it is okay to have a response that may not be the best solution. He is more interested in my reasoning.
Aside from the administrative mentors I am challenged by, I am always learning from the teachers at my site and those I interact with online through the professional development courses I teach. I have heard many people say, “In education, change is the only constant” and this is so true. Talk to anyone in the education field and you would be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees. This is a whole topic of its own, so for now I would like to highlight those that ride the waves of change with undying focus, motivation, and passion; teachers. Every morning we walk the halls of the school, going in and out of classrooms. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. We introduce ourselves to substitutes on campus, say hello to students, and see some of the most innovative practices being implemented by our teachers. Everything from Genius Hour, to the well-rehearsed classroom routines, to effective classroom management strategies, to teachers making one-on-one connections with their students. These moments are some of my favorite parts of my job. There is magic happening in each and every classroom and I have the honor of seeing it on a daily basis. For years I worked alongside these teachers as a colleague, and never did I see them at work within the four walls of their classroom and now that I’m their A.P., I get to see it every day. I learn so much from them by just walking through their rooms.
Lastly, I probably learn the most from our students. Their souls are honest, uninhibited, and full of curiosity. They will tell me how it is and question me about the ways of the world, without even batting an eye and sometimes within the same breath. Their love for life shines through their wide-eyed, inquisitive nature and is a constant reminder to enjoy the little things in life. One of my favorite moments was when a kindergartener passed by my office and asked me if I wanted to see her dress twirl. Of course I said, “yes!” She twirled her dress with such pride and couldn’t wait to see my reaction. She was so proud of the dress she chose to wear on her first picture day and I was honored she wanted to share it with me. I have also been shown more teeth in the palm of a hand, than I ever thought possible, but kids love showing off their “lost tooth.” It makes their day and mine as well. My absolute favorite was a first grader telling me she loved my laugh and that my laugh makes her laugh. What a huge compliment! If I have any impact on that first graders life, I hope its for her to remember to keep on laughing. I just learned the importance of this from her. Learning opportunities are everywhere. The gems are from those less than 4 feet tall.