I admit it! I am not always a #positiveprincipal! But I want to be school leader who is. As school leaders, does our mindset and attitude can directly impact the school culture in which we work? Who are we kidding, of course it does! We wear our attitudes and others can see it. We can affect the kind of day others can have. I want my staff and students to have GREAT days! But let’s be real, I’ve had my share of tough days.
One day in the not-too-distant past, I started out early trying to get my then junior high son ready and out the door with me as we headed to our schools. Picture a cold winter morning, hot coffee in hand, bags and purse hanging from my arms. I was loaded up and ready to go. We were probably 3 minutes late on the schedule already. As I stepped out of the front door with my hands full and wearing an attitude that was less than to be desired, I huffed as I saw the sprinklers on. I impatiently waited for the spray to pass and then I hurried forward, all loaded up, oh and in 4 inch heels no less. Do you see what’s coming? As I attempted to hop over the last bit of sprinkler spray, my shoe slipped. My 4 inch heel failed me! Not thinking to drop everything and catch myself, I fell body first into the cold wet sidewalk, hit my chin and nearly knocked myself out. All of my coffee spilled. I was hurt and wet. But worse I was mad and embarrassed. So I started crying. Late. Hurt. Wet. Crying. I laid there and put my forehead on the sidewalk and cried. My son was so startled because it happened so fast, he was over in seconds to help me up. “I’ll be okay, just give me a minute.” Once I swallowed my pride and took a deep breath, I gathered myself to my knees. “Alrighty, I need a do-over.” So I handed my son the now empty coffee mug and I headed back into the house to change and calm down.
Now I was 20 minutes late. I didn’t worry about the speed limit as I raced my son to his school, and then on to mine. Grabbing my things after roaring into the parking lot, I burst through the office doors and into my office. “Oh-I’ve had day already!” I exclaimed as I zipped past the office clerks and secretary. And then once in my office, I closed the door. I just couldn’t. After about 5 minutes, my amazing secretary knocked on and came in. “Are you okay?” I then proceeded to share with her my harrowing story of the sprinkler hop and was expecting her to be sympathetic. Nope. She burst out laughing. And then I started laughing. “I thought you’d hit a dog or something on the way to work the way you came in just now!” No just being impatient and arrogant. My mood was not right. My frame of mind was not where it should’ve been for my staff. I didn’t even consider that there were parents and students in the school lobby when I arrived.
My poor entrance and attitude affect those around me. My son went to school leaving from a car with a grumpy mom. My office staff felt like they had to tiptoe around me. And worst of all, my students saw me at not at my best.
That is not what I want to project to my school. Not the energy I want reverberating in the office. My desire is to create a positive space for all who enter. Smiles, encouragement, empathetic listening.
Since that day, I don't hop sprinklers anymore. And I take a deep breath before I even step out of my car when entering my campus. Focus and intention. Being a #positiveprincipal takes effort. Everyday. But my school is worth it.
Stay Positive! You got this!