Every single school leader I know is a giver. They will give, give, give until they don’t have anything left. Then they will dig deep and give a little more. Over and over.
School leaders are refueled by watching teachers do their thing. They beam with pride as they watch a first grade teacher interact with a small group of students learning the joys of reading. Their hearts are filled when they see a secondary math teacher get overexcited about a math concept that nobody would ever call exciting, except that it is exciting for those students, in that moment, with that teacher. School leaders’ best days are filled with these moments. It makes all the hard stuff they do worth it.
School leaders are made to fist-bump students as they arrive in the mornings. They live for the hugs, to get down on their knees to comfort an upset child, to sit down with a teenager and wax philosophical about life and dreams. They even secretly love working through discipline problems with students because they know the powerful lessons that can come through learning from mistakes.
School leaders are not made with skin as thick as whale sharks. Nor are they made to get blasted on social media with posts filled with half-truths (at best). They never imagined starting their school year with multiple open positions, starting each day with scrambling for substitute teachers, and having to ask already stretched thin staff to do even more. Their hearts break because they know the strain that families are under right now for a variety of reasons and that takes a toll on them because they are fixers and hate to see their school community hurting.
School leaders will do whatever they need to do to keep their students and staff safe and learning. They will smile and take every. single. hit. that comes at them, every single time. They are filled with optimism for their school communities and are focused on teaching and learning and creating environments of joy. They want to protect teachers from upset parents and too many district initiatives and let them get back to the heart of what they do.
Their armor is wearing thin.
They are starting to think about things they never ever thought they would consider. Like what other careers they might pursue. If they can qualify for early retirement. If they are strong enough to continue to do this work.
Your school leaders need you. Not to agree with every decision that is made, but to approach conversations with an open heart and an open mind.
Your school leaders need you to remember that students greatly benefit from positive home-school relationships.
Your school leaders need you to remember that they lead with their hearts, and that is a good thing but it means that they are human beings and not actual superheroes.
Check on your school and district leaders. Let them know that you see how hard they are working and you value them. Let them know that they are not leading alone, that you have their backs even when you disagree.
I see you, school leaders, and I am so thankful for you. We got this. Together.
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