As the 2017-18 school year begins, I have been thinking about the idea of serving others. I wear many hats and each day finds me responding to the needs of many different people. I am fortunate in that I get to work with students, parents, teachers and staff, fellow administrators, district personnel and community members — all with a common goal of building an incredible and productive school year – of building futures. What an awesome gift we have of being a part of such a magnificent journey! But that also means that on some days we are all sdpread pretty thin. I begin each day with the goal of serving others, but if I’m honest I will tell you that I often fall short. I can serve some of the people, some of the time, but it is a challenge to be consistent in that with all stakeholders, day in and day out.
I had the idea of “serving others” in my mind as I sat down and wrote out my goals for the upcoming school year. This year, my goals include:
- Getting into classrooms daily
- Attending PLC meetings regularly
- Giving consistent and effective feedback to teachers
- Analyzing/reflecting on classroom data frequently
- Making a few positive calls home to parents daily
I started thinking about what type of impact I can make if I work hard toward meeting these goals. By getting into classrooms daily and giving consistent feedback to teachers, I am supporting students and teachers. I am also supporting the campus mission and district vision for each student. By reflecting on data, I am supporting campus needs, goals and decisions going forward as they relate to student achievement. By making regular contact with parents, I am supporting my campus’ core values and through my attendance at PLC meetings I can help to support the learning and teaching environment.
What I noticed when I wrote this out, is that the word “support” comes up again and again. I realized that “serving others” does not just fasten itself to my job, to anyone’s job, without the nails of support. It takes a consistent mental focus on goals, along with the flexibility to adapt to the ongoing needs of others, in order to support the learning organization and ultimately serve an entire community of learners.
I am reminded of a quote by Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.” Taken a step further, it isn’t the hole they are after, either. It’s an end result. This past month I moved and during the fixing up of my new house, I drilled a hole in my bathroom. But I didn’t want a drill or a hole. I wanted a shelf.
When applying this same thought to our roles this year, we can say that our daily tasks, everything from meetings to bus duty to classroom visits, these things are the “nails” that will help build our capacity to support and ultimately to serve, our campuses and districts. To serve our communities.
I am excited about the upcoming year and I have a renewed appreciation for the many hats I wear – because I know that each one serves a very important purpose. Each act, each function of my job, will be another nail of support in my overarching desire to serve others and build a strong school year.
I wish you all a wonderful year as you, too, strive to support, serve others and build strong futures.