I was elated to find out toward the end of the 2016-17 school year that I had been appointed the principalship of Eastlake Middle School. What an honor it would be to serve the community that I live in. Over the next couple of months, I would experience a lot of different emotions from anxiety to excitement and everything in between. As I looked at the list of strengths and challenges from the parent and staff forum, I quickly realized that I had to tend to two very important concepts -- relationships and organizational systems. I knew that I wanted to address relationships first as without a positive and trusting school climate, very little could be accomplished. I decided that during our first meeting as staff we would address issues of the heart or the relational issues. We did a number of different team-building exercises and discussed where we wanted to be as a staff. I remember sharing a video that seemed to move everyone. I played Michael Junior's "Know Your Why." He eloquently captures what I believe all educators should strive for each day... Having a positive impact on the lives of young people and helping them become their next best selves. In other words, he showed the power of knowing Why you do something and the passion behind it. When you know your Why, "You step into your purpose." I love that statement... You step into your purpose. Watch this video and tell me you are not thinking about your Why. I think our Why starts with positive relationships with our kids, community and colleagues.
So, I hope you stood up and clapped while watching that video. I know I did! Hattie has done extensive research on a number of pedagogical practices. In one of his articles, he shows what many other researchers have pointed out... no significant learning can take place without positive relationships. Take a look at this article on relationships and see how your Why can be developed much faster. In addition, see how trust can be developed to foster those positive relationships.
I am a big fan of Lionel Richie and when he came to town with Mariah Carey it was like ice cream with all the toppings. They both put on a great show. I can only hope that I can step into my purpose like Lionel does when he sings and entertains. Hello? Isn't that we are looking for? Okay, bad joke. Just remember, you're once, twice, three times an educator when you know your Why! There are a lot of great Lionel Richie songs out there, but I love Mariah's Carey's Hero and what it says about relationships. Her live performance of this song was amazing. So, be that hero to your kids and show them how to be heroes to others. It starts with relationships. Our kids are our Why.
Okay, I had to throw in a Lionel Richie song just because... so here we go. I give you Dancing on the Ceiling because every day should feel like an 80s pop song.