Saturday, June 30, 2012

An Ode to My Shoes

Over the last three years, I have been consistently working out.  I am pretty proud of the fact that this seems to be a priority in my life.  It also helps that I enjoy the workouts I do and the company I keep while I do them.

Over the last year, these lovely Rykas have been my trusty companions.  They have seen rain, sleet, snow, hail.  They have been to countless Zumba classes (let's see, if I averaged three a week in 52 weeks, that would be at minimum 156, but I think I have had them longer than a year...), many RIPPED classes, and a few Strong classes.  They have carried my weight, plus some super hard orthotics.  They are worn down and need to be replaced for a shoe that can give me the support I need.  It's been a good ride.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Moment of Letting Go

Since his wee years, I have enveloped my fifteen year old in the wonderful world of literature.  Summertime was no exception.  He would participate in the library summer reading program, despite the fact that we rarely, if ever, used the physical rewards from it.  (We kind of always forgot.)

As he entered fourth and fifth grades, this became more of a struggle.  It was more forced, less of a partnership.  Yet I knew he had to read over the summer to keep that continuity flowing.

We started to have the conversation this summer about what he was going to read, and, in his inimitable way, he just glared at me.  

"Can't I just have the summer off?" he asked.  "I read a lot of things this year."

And I paused.

Can't he?  The kid raked in a 4.0.  Is it about him anymore, or about the need to feel like my motherly duties are fulfilled?

So, I'm officially backing off.  After 15 years.  After reading to this kid in the womb (oh, yes I did).  He got many things from me, one of which is the lack of fondness for recreational reading, yet the ability to still call myself "literate."  And so it goes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Measure of an Admin

Pictured was my car clock when I left this morning to take my certification test: 186 - Principal in Illinois. It was quite early, indeed. For the next 5 hours, I was reminded of just how poor of an attention span I have. I was also reminded of how I felt 20-some years ago when I took my initial certification test.

I remember leaving that test thinking how ridiculous it was to think that giving a person a multiple choice test with options for situations could determine that she could actually be a teacher. Now, in 2012, I am asking the same thing about the Principal test. I thought of several persons whom I know who have passed the test and are not great principals. Luckily, I can think of more persons whom I know who passed the test who are quite good at what they do. This is undoubtedly true of every profession with a certification requirement.

So here's my test for those who wish to be principals from a gal who has worked for many and has some seriously high expectations of herself. Each of these is a yes or no item.

1. Do you genuinely like students at your level?
2. Do you genuinely wish to see students do their best academically?
3. Do you genuinely like teachers?
4. Are you capable of inspiring teachers to be the best professionals they can be?
5. Are you a parent or do you fulfill the role of parent in someone's life? (godparent included)
6. If you are not a parent, are you capable of putting yourself into the role of one in order to genuinely understand their perspectives?
7. Do you know what it feels like to struggle?
8. Do you know what it feels like to succeed?
9. Can you show up at school before most of your teachers?
10. Can you stay at school until
most of your teachers are gone for the day?
11. If there is a school-sponsored event, would it be a given with your staff that you are present?
12. Do you know how to lead without bullying?
13. Do your secretaries feel adored?
14. Would your custodians feel badly if they were transferred to another school?
15. Does each staff member feel like a valued member of the school?
16. Can you find money to make things happen for your school?
17. Do you have a PTO that feels in partnership with you?
18. Do you support fledgling teachers in their exciting new journeys?
19. Would there be more sadness than happiness if you had to leave your leadership position in your building?
20. Do you know how to take any group of students and teachers and inspire it to maximum achievement?

Teacher friends, what would you add to the measure of an admin?