Looking back…moving forward

The 2018-19 school year was one of tremendous growth, reflection, and change. In earlier blogs, I articulated my goals and visions for the future. In this post, I expressed my concerns about potentially failing in my future career endeavors, but identified key tasks that would help me to be successful. Even if I failed, I would have made progress.

A year later, it is challenging to read these blogs again without reliving the collection of events that led me to step away from my role as Assistant Principal and then feel like I had failed. However, a year ago, I detailed what my actions would look like if I could not fail and I have successfully accomplished each one! In hindsight, this was possible ONLY because I left a toxic work environment and made a change.

In my blog post, I stated that success would look like:

  • I would be asking questions rather than trying to have all the answers. Taking a new job enabled me to ask even more questions then I dreamed possible as I worked to identify the core elements of a new, young school and develop my understanding so that I could be the best teacher possible. Other teachers ask me questions about my classroom and I have new opportunities to share my insights to improve their classrooms as well.
  • I would be learning to spark curiosity in others by asking questions which help teachers reflect on their own decisions, consider other options, and independently grow as educators rather than checking off a list of requirements. I was able to do quite a lot of this before I left my position as I completed a full round of teacher evaluations and reflections. I have received feedback from teachers after my departure to say that they have made positive changes as the result of my feedback. My new school is much larger and brand new, so each day is a blank slate to infuse new ideas and reimagine learning so that I’m growing as an educator, for my students’ benefit.
  • My Chinese fluency would increase. Being back in a preschool classroom and working in a dual-immersion classroom has given me hours of language lessons a day and I am proud to say I’m speaking on a preschool grade level now! It still remains a goal.
  • Teachers would see their colleagues as resources and experts. My learning community in my new school is very limited, but the teacher next door to mine has been a great resource to me as I have settled in. 
  • Parents would see evidence of their child’s learning every day. I have been able to step up as a positive model for school to home communication through my support with the ChildFolio platform. Documenting learning has added value to my relationship with the parents and they have commented that they feel they understand the progress their child is making in school. When parents see photos and videos, they better understand the learning that has taken place and it gives us a tangible artifact to discuss when they raise questions.
  • All children would feel safe in school. This was accomplished and evident in that not one child cried at morning dropoff or pickup the whole term!

Instead of dwelling on the series of events that went wrong and led to an unexpected job transition, I am taking this moment to celebrate that even in my ‘failure,’ I have successfully accomplished everything I set out to do.

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