Returning to a Novice: Ready, Set, GROW

I recently completed year sixteen of my career in education and turned forty years young. Some now consider me a “seasoned” educator…one who has been around the education block, or one who is halfway “done” (pardon the cooking puns). Sixteen years is plenty of time to become settled, comfortable, and grounded in what it takes to be a great educator, right?


After sixteen years I find myself a novice principal in an unfamiliar building that is currently dark and quiet. It lacks teachers and kids. It is the sound of school in the summer…the air conditioner kicking on and off, the occasional ringing of the phone, and the hum of my computer. In other words…lots of time to REFLECT.

Being a novice can be somewhat scary, but I don’t mind it. The nervous energy, the anticipation of a new journey, and the thought of having an opportunity to make an impact on a new group of people makes my fear subside. I plan to make a difference, but I have no doubt that I, being a novice principal/lead learner, will be impacted by THEM. The teachers, staff, children, and families who come together to make one big school family will teach ME. They will help me grow. I will be better because of THEM.

In spite of sixteen years in education and being forty years young, I am a novice. In many ways we all are at times. If we become comfortable in the “seasoned” or “emeritus” state, we stop growing. We then put ourselves at risk of losing our ability to make a difference. We begin to become the status quo. Become a novice at something on a regular basis. Allow yourself to continue learning, evolving, and changing. If you are too comfortable, you are not growing.

As I look forward to a school filled with happy teachers and children, I am filled with hopes and dreams for the most amazing school year. Year seventeen is the year of the NOVICE, and it will be epic. Ready…set…GROW!




3 thoughts on “Returning to a Novice: Ready, Set, GROW

  1. Bethany,

    Thank you for this reflection. I am also starting something new this year, becoming an academic specialist at our district after 11 yrs of teaching. I too am excited, nervous, anticipating great things. Good luck on your new journey.


  2. I totally appreciate your growth mindset. I was talking to my kids about it tonight. They are blessed (?cursed?) to be pretty good at most things they try. When they try something and are challenged they struggle. I love the idea of not settling for emeritus status. I was thinking as I am learning from new member of my PLN. I want to be a new teacher this year. No, not go back to year one but be new because I have learned and I am trying new things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this very idea. Your staff is going to love you!


  3. Thanks for the reflection kickstart Bethany. I too begin a novice this school year as an Assistant Principal and can attest to Fred Devito’s quote, “That if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Eric Butterworth also says, “Don’t go through life, grow through life.” Remember the uncomfortableness of being a novice because it will help you relate to your 1st year novice teachers, your grade level novice teachers, your different school novice teacher, novice support staff, and finally the hundreds of novice students entering school this fall in a different grade. Don’t forget to take us “your PLN” along for the journey!


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