I think I adore my new principal. In that bright-eyed, third grader, “You’re my hero favorite teacher” kind of way. Yes, I’m 30 and still have favorite teachers. I just can’t help it. I instantly fall in love with people who are honored to be around children. And if you cry when you talk about them, forget it. Heart. Turned. To Mush.
Today, our morning meeting went something like this:
She shares her life..her summer.
Authority, Grace, and Vulnerability all rolled into 1 person, speaking with quiet, yet bold strength.
Then she celebrates. She celebrates US. What WE did. (How does she know what WE did?)
She goes on to celebrate “promises we can’t NOT keep” made last year by staff members.
She celebrates teams and partnerships and successes…
We went on to look at student writing. Every person in the school looked at student writing.
At a morning PD meeting on the 1 day of school, we looked at student writing. (Where am I?)
She speaks with beauty and true knowledge about reading and writing. (My very own love language.) Everything I love in a teacher. leader. human.
After looking at the student work, rather than continue on about Core Standards, she takes a turn.
I simply cannot capture the moment as it was… the way her voice cracked or just the moment when the tears fell as she pictured these students, her students.
Her words washed over me in a way that made me want to jump up and shout.
Trying to capture her lines was like holding water.
Couldn’t write fast enough.
Didn’t see it coming. I have but little evidence, but I will write what I remember.
Too good to get lost in busyness and 1st day jitters.
It has to be remembered.
“So when we look at these kids work, remember they represent ALL the kids we have. We know which kids have been washed in a sea of language. You cannot quiet their voices. But the others.. the others are counting on us. Like__________–Where do we give her the power in her life to get past the things that are in her way? She is not a kid who sees herself as the center of the world. Not even in her own little world. ”
“This is the only time teachers are going to know her (them) this well. In high school, they have 120 other students. In middle school (she looks at me), sure they love them, but they have 60 other students. Where we are, in elementary school, we get to know their lives up close…every detail. We are in an unparalleled positions.
They are counting on us. . . . and we owe them our very best.“
(This is about the moment that every ounce of my respect and awe transferred to Adele Schroeter.)
I’m in the very position I hoped to avoid when I moved schools. (There. I said it.) But I am EXCITED and THRILLED to get started. I’m so over my selfishness. (There is no room for that in this profession. ) And my principal…well, I’ll follow her anywhere and work my tail off because I trust her. I trust her heart. Even if all I know about her is that justice for children is at the core of her vision.
…and that she embodies grace, authority, and vulnerability.
…and that she talks with beauty and knowledge about reading and writing.
Yeah. I adore my new principal. But more importantly, this is the feeling I want to give my kids tomorrow on their first day. This trust and blind certainty that someone is fighting for them.
20/20 epilogue: if you are not in a workplace where you are inspired by your leader, go and find one. and if you are fortunate enough to be in that place already, stay… keep staying. and then stay some more.