Monthly Archives: September 2013

It’s supposed to be hard

I am now a couple months into my new job as a 4th and 5th grade principal.  My new school is about double the size of my previous school and this school year is my third year as a principal.  Although I am still incredibly excited by the opportunities to serve and make a difference in my new position, things have been really tough and I have been stretched and challenged in ways that I didn’t anticipate.  I am finding the need to find better ways to manage my time, better ways to manage my stress level and those around me, better ways to communicate with staff, parents, and community, better ways to help students be successful, and better ways to build relationships and teamwork in our school community.  Put quite simply, the job is really hard, but in the midst of all of the challenge of the job and the transition, I still feel at peace.

Each day we have a choice.  Will we roll up our sleeves, work together and give our all even in often less than ideal circumstances?  The challenges we face in education today are immense, but I believe we are up to the challenge.  Although there are hard days, I’ve come to realize that for me personally, I want to meet that challenge.  I want the ball when the game is on the line.  I want to make a difference with students who really need me.  I want to do something exceptional…

It’s supposed to be hard.

A couple of quotes have stuck with me in this transition and have become a sort of mantra for me…

One is from Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate who says, “It’s not supposed to easy, it’s supposed to be worth it.” Amen Dave.  Your book got into my hands at a time I really needed that jolt in the arm.  Recently, I finished a conversation with a parent whose child is really struggling at school.  As our meeting was wrapping up and he was thanking me for the time we spent brainstorming possible solutions that might help, he made a comment that implied that it must be tough always meeting with people with significant problems that need to be addressed.  Although it is difficult to hear that any student in our school is really struggling, I assured him that as we all work together, I am confident that at some point we will be having a very different conversation about his son’s success at school.  When we have that conversation, the hard work that we put in today will absolutely be worth it.

The second quote is from the blog of a priest I admire.  I think it speaks for itself and has stayed in my conscious brain and continued to be a source of comfort and inspiration…

“You and I might moan and whine sometimes, but at the end of the day we want to be in this fight. Think about it: would you really want, on your deathbed, to be able to look back at your life and think “well, that was easy?” I wouldn’t. There would be something very sad about that. Was there nothing worth fighting for? Nothing worth sacrificing for? Was there nothing that pushed you to your limit? How tragic!”

The challenges are immense, but each day our students need us fully engaged in this fight.  If we don’t find a way for them to be successful, no one else will.