I have to switch gears for once and write a blog about something else, because until I get some of this out, I won't have the freedom to think of some light, trivial Cady blogs. So bare with me.
I tend not to vent about work much. Even Rob only hears a tiny fraction of all my work woes. For the past nine years I have been working in a school with a dedicated and passionate staff and some really great wayward kids. Unfortunately, for the past few years I have observed a school that had once shined, gradually being run into the ground by poor leadership. It's been difficult to watch and in the face of disaster I am not one to remain silent or passive, nor am I one that gives up easily. My way of dealing has been to overcompensate because I must have some kind of hero complex. I shoot myself in the foot year after year working harder and harder to compensate for the lack of leadership by developing programs and policies that are good for our students but barely supported by administration. That's called denial. Our school nearly imploded.
It was difficult going back this year. I chose to return to a school that is so far away from what I believe is good for children in order to be closer to home, be more available for Cady and work a schedule that could be flexible around my need to be a mom first. But I felt sick about it the first week of school when I was confronted with more of the same. The words SELL-OUT kept chiming in my head. Our students were supposed to start school on Monday. They were asked to wait until Tuesday until we were more prepared (isn't that what summer is for? To prepare?), then comes Tuesday and we have to send ALL of our students home and ask them to come back on Friday. These are student's that are primarily sent to our school because of their disengagement from school, and what did we do? We welcomed them by sending them home. I won't even go into some of the other serious systemic blunders that occurred in the name of trying to hold onto some sense of professionalism.
I spent the better part of last week trying to level with myself. To accept the fact that the school is not the school that it once was and that to continue to stay was the equivalent of staying in a bad relationship. If I leave my school, I still have a job in the district at my choice of many other schools. I had to have a conversation with myself about when is enough, enough.
The day after this revelation, I received a memo hand-delivered to my office that essentially said, "your principal is being transferred and by the start of next week you will have a new principal." My emotions were all over the place. I've worked with my Principal for nine years (he wasn't always principal, but he's been at the school.) On a personal level I see this really passionate person who works his heart out. I have to respect that. He's just terrible at leading a school. As the entire school faculty is high-fiving and jumping for joy, I'm feeling ecstatic along with them on a professional level and sad for my Principal on a human/personal level. It should have happened long ago, but now he has to leave in humiliation in the middle of the week with a faculty that is glad to see him go and a school that is severaly dysfunctional and ineffective. I wish he had made the decision on his own.
Here comes the good news!! Our new principal is AMAZING!!!!!!!! He has boundless energy, the kids love him, he articulated more vision in my five minute conversation with him than I've heard in the past seven years combined. His vision is lined up with everything that I beleive in. He high-fived me when he learned that I'm a social worker and that he has me five days a week. In one week he has resolved issues that help me do my job more effectively and efficiently. The same issues that I have been asking for resolution with, for years. He has seriously high standards but I'm nothing short of excited to try and live up to them. I forgot how good it feels to have leadership that empowers, motivates and engages. I have a lot to learn from this guy and I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to watch my program shine once again. Rob has a feeling that I will have a few less knots in my neck and shoulders than I currently have. And I have a feeling that my energy will be back in no time and I'll be posting a Cady blog real soon. If you made it this far, thanks for listening!
***7/17/08 EDIT*** Funny to go back and read this. I still stand by that he was an incredible leader. Little did I know that I would be reporting him for inappropriate behavior with students. I dig the line that says "Rob has a feeling that I will have a few less knots in my neck and shoulders than I currently have". If I only knew then what I know now, lol.