Do What Matters!

Yesterday I was watching the news and a story came on about how crowded the amusement resorts were in Orlando, Florida this past week.  The story made the presumption that people were tired of putting off vacations and being frugal because of the  (now easing?) recession and are ready to live a little.  That story was followed by a quick blurb on how stocks were up because of good news on job creation and orders for durable goods.  I actually said aloud to myself, “People just maybe sick of living in the economic and political malaise that we have endured for the past three or so years.” I started thinking to myself that maybe people are willing to quit listening to how bad things are, think for themselves a little and try to quit living in fear of tomorrow.  As I contemplated this I rephrased the previous thought into this: I have to quit listening to how bad things are in my profession!  I need to think for myself a little more and not let the popular media create a cloud to darken my day.  I have to quit living in fear of what is coming next, control the factors that I can, and do the best I can for the students in my charge.  This was a fleeting moment, the thought of writing a blog about my reasoning came and went, and I was on to my next task.  This morning though, as I was browsing though the new titles in my reader I came across and read, Chris Lehmann’s latest post and the same thoughts from yesterday came flooding back to me.  His words crystallized my problem.  I spend way too much time in crisis mode and allow too many things to become a crisis.  I have a hard time shutting down the “Mr. Meister” school persona and just living in the moment and enjoying the wonderful things that go on around me every day, both in and out of school.

Being in a constant state of crisis is so counterproductive.  How many opportunities do I miss to have positive interactions with staff and students while worrying about the current “big” issue.  The “real” problems are going to find me whether I have worried about them or not.  Good problem solvers solve problems. They don’t let problems define what they do or who they are.  They don’t let themselves become part of the problem because the daily routines keep them from focusing the important vision and mission of the school.  I need to consistently discipline myself to stay out crisis mode…except of course, when there is a crisis.  The fact that current popular education reformers have no clue what they are talking about does not make everyday a crisis for me…they are not my problem to solve.  My job is to educate my school community about what is in the best interests of our kids.  I have to communicate with the stakeholders that I serve and consistently link our school actions to the mission we have built for ourselves.

My daily mantra will include the following somehow:

  • The vision or direction needs to be the priority.
  • Do something today to inform stakeholders about learning activities and accomplishments in our school
  • Problems happen.  Take the direct steps to ameliorate the situation and let it go.  Is it going to matter five days from now?  Five hours from now?  Five minutes?  Make sure the response matches the situation.
  • Talk with students everyday
  • Talk with at least one teacher about instruction every day
  • Exercise
  • Play more golf….(a guy has to have goals right?)
  • Start racing again
  • Try not to be such a Troll Dad (my kids know what that means)