Looking at it in a different way

In a conversation with a colleague, the concept of cognitive reframing came up, defined on About.com as “A technique by which a person learns to stop his or her negative thought process and replace the negative thoughts with more positive self-talk.” We were talking about how some of our students could employ this strategy to get past some of the walls they have set up for themselves, or for the roadblocks life has put in their way.  That got me thinking…

Another colleague, or more of a mentor, in his attempts to prepare me for my upcoming administration position, told me his leadership style revolved around trying to “clear the path” for his staff and to do everything he could to “let them be free to work with students”. Something that stuck with me, but that I never fully grasped until today…

This morning I got to talking with a friend who is finishing up his education degree and preparing for his career. We talked about starting out with teaching, the fear and anticipation that comes from the unknown, the desire to be relevant, to connect and to have an impact. I remembered what that felt like…

Well today in the midst of a hectic day with a few frustrating interactions, my mind kept wandering back to moments from my teaching. I thought about all those wonderful days when I was able to connect with students and I took away just as much if not more than my students received from me. It is easy when we are frustrated to play the “grass is greener” game, and I will admit my pity party had me wishing I was back in the classroom. 

Sometimes we need our own cognitive reframing. Sometimes we will deal with a complicated student or a difficult parent and we will have our vision and creativity hampered by frustration. Sometimes the demands of our job as educators will seem too much, and we think about how we could be working in another field, one where the stress of work doesn’t leave the building and come home with us for the evening. I had to look at my situation in a different way…

So I sat in my quiet office and thought about my job. I thought about how good it felt to talk with an educator who was only months away from starting his career. I thought about how exciting, and how difficult, that first year of teaching can be, and how helping a young teacher starting out will one day be a component of my job. I thought about the words that mentor passed on to me, “clear the path”, and how part of what I do was to help my colleagues have the freedom to do their jobs. I started to feel a little better about my day. I realized that all the difficult interactions, the long hours over the past few weeks, the meetings and the phone calls may not be the exciting parts of education, but they might help. If I do my job, and assist our amazing staff, I help allow the process to happen. These tasks I have been doing might help free up one of our great teachers to connect with their students and have that amazing day they remember for a lifetime. When you look at it that way, in a different way, it’s a pretty great job and I am a pretty lucky guy.

3 thoughts on “Looking at it in a different way

  1. It is always important to take time to reflect on your vision for your ‘admin attitude’ – what I believe ensures that one can keep the path clear for teachers to get the most out of their teaching and learning during the school year. It is also pertinent to reach out to other administrators to check with them on how things are going, ask a question or even to just share a story/resource. By showing your staff that you are involved to make a difference for them, their students and the school community, you will be able to move towards that vision you seek.

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