Monday, September 1, 2014

The First Week of School

Well I did it!  I made it through my first week of school as an administrator!

And what a week it was!  I think the biggest take-away for me was how much my daily routine has changed.  As a classroom teacher there was some sort of daily routine that I would sink into.  I knew when the day started, I knew what time lunch was, I knew when to take my kids to their specials rotation, etc.  As an administrator that all goes out the window!  Every day is a brand new day with a brand new "schedule"!  It is absolutely perfect for my ADHD, but it's definitely a mind shift!



There was also something else I learned this week.  I've seen kids hungry for attention, wanting to be noticed.  And this year, with our motto being "You Matter" we've taken a strong stance.  But what I wasn't ready for was the depth at which these kids had been hurt.  In my years of teaching, I had never come across children who seem so starved for a kind comment, a hug, a safe place.  It broke my heart, but at the same time it filled me up knowing that at Navasota Intermediate they were going to get just that.  The first day of school we had quite a few kids who tried to push the boundaries, get an attitude, and show anger.  But we surrounded them love.  We surrounded them with the constant message that they mean the world to us.  And even by the second day of school, I noticed a shift.





One of my favorite moments from the entire week, happened on the second day of school.  A student got sent to my office. Not because he was in trouble, but because at Navasota Intermediate we celebrate. He had handled himself extremely well in what could have been a terrible situation with another student. I got to call home to mom to brag about him. She didn't answer so I left a message. What did he say after I left the message? "My mom is gonna hug me really big tonight". Wow.  I almost broke down in tears right there and made it a point every day from then on out to find a student who had done something great and have them call home in my office to brag to their parents.  It was funny as one parent had the comment, "Wait, you're calling me for something good?  I'm confused.  My daughter isn't in trouble?"  It's moments like that too where I see how much we've missed by not celebrating more successes.




Another exciting thing that happened this week is that my administration team and I are having a competition. About what?  Well we want to make sure every single teacher's classroom is visited at least once a day by one of us. We have a chart on my office door that after one of us visit a classroom door we sign.  Then at the end of they day we see who visited the most classrooms.  You wouldn't believe the difference it makes in the kids to constantly see their administrators in their learning environment and not just a discipline environment.  But just as importantly, it allowed me moments to connect with others on the staff and watch their amazingness in action.  One thing that visiting classrooms every day has shown me is that I have one heck of a team over here.




The other great thing from week one is the fact that as an administration we've chosen to remove our teachers from morning or afternoon duty.  Instead, we as an administrative team do duty with our instructional aides and support staff.  We do car rider duty.  We do bus rider duty.  We do lunch duty.  Why?  Because we are passionate about connecting with kids as well and we don't want to be hidden away in an office.  My favorite part of every day is opening car doors in the morning because I am able to set the tone for each and every child.  I get to make sure every car rider is greeted with a HUGE welcome, a warm smile, and a hug or handshake.  It's just the thing I need every morning to get me going.




As I've been in the classrooms I've seen the relationships already being built.  I haven't seen this side before because I've always been in my own classroom.  But it's so exciting to see this team connecting with kids on such a personal level.  It was amazing watching kids design their own superheros, identify their genius, write you matter letters to people in their lives and so much more.




We're building so much more than a school over here in Navasota, Texas.  We're working to change hearts and therein change lives.  Can't wait to see what the rest of this school year brings!