Reflecting on one of the most challenging weeks in my sixth year as an elementary school administrator. I just couldn’t catch my breath. One thing after another. Which, as many of you know, actually sums up a normal day at school. But the events of this past week were incredibly emotional, unexpected, time-consuming, requiring community & staff communication and heavy on my heart.
Three big events as I look back now. Three events that took all my energy, heart, intellect, organization and communication. As event two was unfolding, as I paced the halls, thinking, making phone calls, consulting with staff… I felt giddy with stress and emotion. Titling on the brink of How much can I handle? I sat down with a teacher and described how good I feel about my work every day (attempt at a personal pep talk). In the midst of trying circumstances, I do good work for kids, families and staff. Even as events seems to be swirling outside of my control, I know this is good work. In this slightly giddy moment, I told her, “It’s like eating a giant bowl of kale.” We both laughed. What a strange analogy.
But it works. I’d rather be eating eggs benedict or lasagna, but kale is what my body needs at this moment. And I feel good on the inside. This week, I’d rather have been visiting classrooms, working with kids, checking in with staff, helping serve lunch, but this was the work that needed my undivided attention. These events, as they rose to my attention, these events became the priority. And I felt good about it all played out. On the inside.
Unrelated but related. I’ve had the same conversation with a few different people lately. “I’d never want to be a principal,” they’ve said. My response remains consistent. We need teachers to leave the classroom LOVING teaching, LOVING kids. We can’t have principals leading schools who’ve burned out as educators and no longer care deeply about our kids.
There’s the connection to my “bowl of kale week.” I care deeply about our students, our school, our families and our staff. So when a week like this last one feels relentless, heavy, without pause and emotional, I know I can do some of my best work. And I did. Not always on my own, of course. Phone calls, conversations, think time. But I can sit here on my Sunday reflecting on the week and feel good.
Even when it’s hard, it’s awesome. AWEsome. Bowl-of-kale-awesome.