Friday, January 6, 2017

Year 7: Week 17 - My Shot

How do we make decisions? What guides us? There are times when we need to think about what’s best for the most amount of students and other times we need to make other students adjust for the needs of a couple. We have a school philosophy that defines the values of an institution and every single choice is made based on these values. Every day there are hundreds, thousands of decisions that teachers have to make. Over time our batting average gets better, but mistakes never stop, there are just fewer of them. It’s not so bad because over time we get better at apologizing.

I’ve had to make a lot of decisions in the past week as department chair. Some small ones without a large ripples and others that have larger consequences. I try my best to be decisive, because I know that this is important in establishing a direction for my department. And as Hamilton raps, "I would rather be divisive than indecisive" but this it takes a toll. It doesn’t feel good making decisions that you know some people won’t like. While it’s difficult when people come to you disagreeing with your choices, it’s even harder knowing that some people disagree with you and are talking about your decisions behind your back.

I like to think of myself as a hesitant leader, shoved into a position, but the reality is that leadership is something I have sought out throughout my life. I would always run for student council representative in elementary school, but I never got those kinds of positions as I wasn’t ever in the popular crowd. I got some level of leadership through musical achievement in high school and then in college I figured out a way to be “in the room where it happened,” as the music director of my fraternity which gave me a seat on our executive board.

Along with the stress of being on the board, there was power. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy that power. However more than once, I used that to make decisions, that didn’t pan out how the way I planned and I was the one who had to deal with the consequences.

For the first four years of my teaching career, I wasn’t in that room, and I didn’t want to be. I was okay being on the sideline and not being involved in the politics and the ins and outs. Something changed when I came to this school.

The crazy ideas I came up with didn’t seem so crazy to other people. It was a more a question of should than could and with one of our school’s saying “everything to help and nothing to hinder,” leadership became something could happen once again.

The stakes were higher, the responsibility was more than I had ever taken on before, but something gave me the belief that I could do this. I had a way to make decisions I had never relied on before: the council and support of wonderful people who believed in me as much as the believed in our school.

This week has been crazy, overwhelming and stressful, but I kind of like it that way.  This is my shot to make a difference in this school and my students' lives and I'm not going to throw it away.  

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