So, stepping into this new Assistant Principal role has been a full on experience for me; that's for sure. A school that is just over six months old not only in facilities but in culture means that I might have missed out on some of most of the hard work in getting things up and running, but I'm still finding that there is plenty of teething issues that require my attention and hard work. We actually have the official grand opening this week with the State Premier, the Minister of Education and many more important guests in attendance. Something else to put down as a first in my career.
The frantic pace, the steep learning curve has put the blogging on the backburner over the past fortnight. I'm also thinking carefully about how much I want to blog about my new school anyway. I have new collegial relationships to build, a very multicultural student population to get to know a lot better and new systems and circumstances that require time and contextual insight to fully understand. I'm inclined to blog on the side of caution. So, if you only read good news stories involving my new site, it is not because I'm wearing rose coloured glasses or trying to "spin" a one dimensional viewpoint. I'm just trying to be respectful.
I am taking some of John Spencer's advice for beginning teachers and remixing it for my new leadership role. It goes something like this:
Be bold. Be humble.
It's become my mantra as I approach the start of
the school year[my new role]. It's the paradox that keeps me in a place where I can serve my students[colleagues] with confidence and lead my students[colleagues] with humility. It's not a middle zone, either. I don't "take down" the boldness by being humble or "take down" the humility by being bold. Instead, it's a sense that I should be completely bold and completely humble simultaneously.
I like what this translates for me. To be an effective leader and someone who will work with a whole bunch of educators all at various places in their own educational journey, I need both of those qualities - boldness and humility. The boldness to ask the questions that will uncover what I need to know for the decisions I will need to take, the confidence that I bring ideas and experiences that will push the school in the direction it wants to go. But equally important is the humility that my colleagues will know a lot more about these students, this community, this new-born facility than I will know. I need to listen to their complaints, their fears, their opinions and their advice. Humility alone will give the message that I don't know what I'm talking about. Boldness alone will alienate staff who've been in these trenches longer than this new boy. But with the two combined together, I just might be able to make a difference.