Monday is around the corner and I feel like I have nothing left to give. Let me explain. Last week, I was the only administrator on campus. Honestly, I do not mind being there without my principal. I too have the abilities to lead the school and make sure everything goes smoothly. But last week we were in week 3 at the start of this school year, the one with the pandemic, still. This year is like none other, even in my 5th year as an Assistant Principal, I feel as if this one is taking the cake...out of the oven, burnt.
Reality is, we are leading in a time of fear, confusion, miscommunication, and ultimately, seems like at times, we are building the ship as we go. Often, I am asked "Ms. Conley, how are you doing?" My response: "keeping my head above water". When someone shows frustration, I say "just keep swimming". These statements ring so true, every. single. day. As a leader during this pandemic, we are constantly asked to be flexible, give grace, and treat things like normal. But if you are building the ship as you gracefully treat things like normal while being flexible, one day, you are bound to drown. It is just. too. much.
Last week, I barely held my head above water. There was one day where it felt as if my heart was racing so fast with overwhelming feelings, I had no choice but to take a LOOONGGG DEEEEP breath. I knew my staff and my students needed me, so there was no need for any knee jerk reactions or for me to shut them out. They needed a leader who was going to press on and move the ship forward, even if water was rushing in. So I decided to smile, and breathe. I knew I had to remind myself that I am more than capable of getting things done and running the school. If you have not learned from me yet, that's "just what I like to do, get errr done!".
After a week like that, you have to reflect and see where you need to improve, or where you can give yourself kudos. By Friday, I was breast stroking. I had accomplished more in that week, than...well, I will just say I felt really good and my staff could see it too. I literally was smiling and skipping on Friday. However, I dog paddled for so long, I had to take a break. SO, I decided to turn off my work email for the weekend and only do things that made my soul smile. Now, many leaders know just how hard that is to do. Especially when we are waiting for a specific email to come through. Therefore, on Saturday after I had an amazing brunch filled with camaraderie and laughter with a few of my peers, I peeked. Why did I peek??? Immediately, I see a familiar name pop up on my email and my body began to feel that overwhelming feeling I felt on Wednesday. Yes, I understand that this is part of the job, but when you know how successful you had been and how proud you felt and then someone decides to knock that down by an email to the masses, how do you just KEEP SWIMMING?
This job is SO HARD. One email, that honestly does not even make sense to even my 15 year old child, can ruin your day. One complaint that is not even justified can ruin your WHOOLLEEE FREAKIN' day. I love working with people, building trust and lasting relationships. I get the most gratification from helping parents solve problems. This year, I have never felt such a lack of trust by a person I have honestly never even spoken to. So why do I let it bother me? You are probably thinking this too...because I am such a believer in working things out together, that when you do not allow leaders to make decisions, problem solve at the table, and you go above them, that trust is lost. In my personal and professional relationships, trust is a huge factor for me. Once it is gone, I feel defeated.
Do not get me wrong, my boat is still afloat, I have not stopped swimming yet...I honestly have no plans to. But today, the day before entering into another week, I surely need a lifejacket to keep swimming. I need a shift in my mind in order to help me navigate what Monday may bring. So, here is to continuing to build the boat and staying above water because we will NOT let this trying year, this pandemic, one person or overwhelming feelings sink our ship! We are going to KEEP SWIMMING. And turn off our emails on the weekend...NO PEEKING!