One administrator responsibility that is often left off of job descriptions is “motivational speaker.” In the weeks leading up to to our first professional development session of the year, I spent a lot of time trying to decide what my message would be, and how I could get that across through storytelling. I mentioned in a previous blog that this year, my goal was to lessen the amount of branches each teacher had. I kept this at the forefront as I wrote down different ideas of a theme for the year.
I planned to use the tree metaphor of initiatives, but we all know that if I made staff shirts with a tree on them staff would not be nearly as excited to wear it. After much thinking, I chose to make our theme center around Captain America. Not only does he have a simple quote that is perfect for staff shirts, but I could take this so much deeper.
I began my speech to staff by reminding them that Captain America wasn’t special because of his strength. What makes him special is his unwavering dedication to his beliefs and his missions. I spent time discussing and reviewing our district and school mission, vision, and goals, and talked about how these had to be more than words on posters. We have to band together and keep our focus on the mission.
I then brought in the visualization of the tree, and explained to staff that our district mission are the roots, out school mission is the truck, and each of them are a branch. The role of the district and school is to support them, but they have to do their part by not adding too many leaves and twigs to their limbs. As a school, we are only focusing on becoming better Professional Learning Communities this year. All of our time together will focus on that one initiative. Within PLC’s there is plenty of space for the art of teaching to flourish, but we will not be adding leaves and twigs this year.
We are going back to the basics. We will have an unwavering dedication to our mission and beliefs. We will make this the best year yet, and we will do it together as one unified staff.
As I wrapped up my speech, before I could even get the final words out, there was cheering and clapping from staff. They were ready for initiatives to come off of their plate and ready to start the year without feeling like they were already bogged down.
I have a few more things up my sleeve to continue to expand on this theme, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises here. As always, stay tuned!