You know what? My confidence is growing in my new position, and to be honest, I feel like I am going to be pretty good at this administration thing. I still have a lot to learn, there is no doubt about that, and I still have many mistakes ahead of me in my career. That being said, I have started to notice that there are some times I definitely have something to offer as well.
While in discussion today with Gail, a superstar administrator from my division, we started talking about how to help teachers find ways to use teaching styles they don’t usually utilize. Gail brought up how one resource she read (I should listen more closely so I could remember the name) said a teacher should plan their lesson for a particular topic and then FLIP the lesson to try and find a completely different way to present the lesson. The more I thought about that today, I realized that it is an exercise based on breaking old habits. Sometimes we as educators rely on what works for us, and those become habits, and eventually time may catch up with us, and those habits will grow stale. When we are looking for ways to make change, to “flip the lesson”, we are going to look to our colleagues for ideas.
That is how I find many interactions when we get together as administrators. We talk about topics that are ALL new to me. We reflect on the practices we are currently using and then talk about how we can improve on them. And THAT is where I actually have something to offer. In most situations I am not well versed in what HAS worked, I can only think about what I think WOULD work. I come from a place of idealism and naive exuberance. It means instead of past practice, I focus mostly on things I have read, heard or shared with other educators (usually on twitter or in a blog). I can’t fall back on old habits when I haven’t been able to make any yet. So I offer my point of view, and because I work with such amazing people, I am always heard and my input is valued. I offer something that may differ from anyone else at the table, and it helps me see that there is a reason I am in this position, that I do have something to offer.
So if you are a new administrator, or a new teacher, keep this in mind. You probably won’t be able to speak to the practices of the past, and you will feel lost at times as you learn the ropes, but there will be times you will have something unique to offer. With little history behind your teaching, or administration, you will focus on what you have learned, what you have discussed and what you have imagined. You will often find your ideas will provide a different perspective, and will help the process. Be proud of being young and inexperienced, they are both great strengths you should embrace and run with.