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?
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
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!