We Can with Two Rules Wednesday 9

Posted by Brenda Yoho

New Rules? New Roles for Principals

What does the job description for a school principal look like in 2023? A lot has changed since the beginning of this century. For most of the twentieth century, principals were taught that one of the most critical aspects of their job was managing the school building.

Today, school principal’s are doing so much more each day.

How do you define the role of the principal?

How can leaders build up their resilience, support and self-care?

  • Develop a support network with other leaders in your area, then expand this to reach out to other states and globally utilizing social media platforms. Ask questions, find out what they are doing, and see what is working and what is not.
    • Check to see what platform works best for you and where people are at who match your needs. This is not to add more work to you but to narrow your focus to engage with others to support your needs.
  • Listening and Asking Questions
    • When we allow ourselves time to listen to others, they feel valued, and we feel comfort in knowing we are building relationships. Asking questions provides us with opportunities to grow deeper. Everyone has experienced trauma. I can safely say this, as the global pandemic was felt in every corner of the world. We will never know, if we never ask the questions.

As school years are ending, the work continues for our leaders. Leaders will continue to work with an extended contract with summer schools, summer camps, building maintenance, hiring of staff, setting up schedules, planning the next school year,

\\\\ and so much more. In those plans, I hope is some time to take care of their needs and family needs.

End of the year can bring many things!

We may not intend to say and do things that can have adverse effects and impacts, but sometimes the stresses we face at the end of the year bring about lots of pressures!

The final weeks are full of emotions that can be intense and can bring about behaviors that can test our patience. Anxieties are raised with final exams, final grades, consequences, and other opportunities in the lives of students and staff. The worries build as the day's tick by, and excitement grows for those who already know what tomorrow holds for them.

It is all about our choices as we end the school year. How we choose to respond or react to the emotions and actions of others will be what determines the stabilizing or feelings of how students will feel as they process all of the days. As teachers and leaders, can we model how our students can finish the school year by building additional strategies to maintain control when facing challenges, disorientation, and many emotions?

There are some things I will tell you I have done that I think are not things you should say or do. Remember, we are not perfect, and we learn as we go, but when we know, we share so others do not repeat.

When I found a student who was worried, uncertain, and nervous about going on to high school, my response was: Don’t worry, you’ll do fine. It is excellent at the high school. They have the first-year class setup like our school is, and the teachers are so lovely.

“No, Mrs. Yoho, you don’t understand. I will not be fine. All of the kids from the other middle school will be there, and that means we will all be together. Gangs are different. When I go to the high school, I have to do things differently. I won’t be just fine.”

He was right. I did not understand. What a horrible thing for me to say that he would be just fine. I can’t predict his future. I should have helped him develop some strategies to use, connect him with a trusted adult at the school he could go to, and how to find ways to work on self-care.

I provided one example of several I can think of which can send the wrong messages to our students. This example was just one I can recall very vividly as something I just said as an encouraging individual without any thoughts of anything deeper. Because I had built a strong relationship with this young man, he was able to tell me the hard truth and knew I would hear him. I heard him loud and clear. We are not in a place to tell anyone they will be just fine. We can provide comfort, but we have no idea.

There are many general statements we make without thinking deeply about them and what those who receive them are thinking. “You are very smart, the smartest person I know.”- Then when they make a mistake they think they have let you down, they are afraid to make mistakes, do not think they made a mistake and the list goes on. We should praise the strategies, effort and procedures, along with the hard work instead of the intelligence piece. “Don’t let me catch you doing or saying that again!” Well, this misses the point as students will interpret this to mean as long as they do not get caught. Wrong! You can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution the choice is yours to make. However, problems will equal consequences. This is where Two Rules helps with asking the questions before you say or do, and then we can find a solution to the problems you face.

I have survived many ends to a school year in many different roles. It is in the approach and mindset you utilize which helps you in making it the best!

We can’t avoid many of the emotions that accompany the end of the year. However, we can use this time to teach, coach, and counsel students how to manage what they’re feeling and develop strategies to respond to the challenges they face. Of course, we too can employ these strategies to help us to stay calm, focused, and successful as we negotiate our way to the end of the year, too.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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