Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Gift of #EduPressure

I can't tell you how many times over the past few months I have been asked, "Fadeji, do you have a blog?" Sadly, my response has been, "No, but some day!"  Writing is something I have loved since I was in elementary school. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love bright colored pens, handwritten thank you notes, and I'm a sucker for funky fun fonts. Whether I'm typing a quick email to a colleague, jotting down a reminder on a neon post-it note, or simply making a "to do" list (yes, I still make those), there is something about writing that just feels right. 

After some serious #EduPressure from two principals whom I admire greatly (@chaugen and @awelcome), here I am, on a Sunday evening SO excited to be writing my first blog post. I'm also convinced that without a magical brainstorming/work sesh with @awesomecoachv, this blog would have a lame name and I wouldn't know where to even find the "compose" icon.  To the three of you, you make me want to Give. Risk. Learn. Trust. 

GIVE.  As educators, we are constantly giving, right? Giving of our time, our resources, our money, our hearts, our knowledge, our energy, our lives. I think giving is something that exhausts us all, but in the most incredibly rewarding way.  I spent the last couple of days in Napa at the Fall CUE Conference (#fallcue) with some of the most giving people I have EVER met.   No, seriously. The people I surrounded myself were relentless in their giving. Although this list of items may sound superficial, the thoughtfulness behind each item, is far from materialistic or meaningless. An extra hot pumpkin spice latte driven 24.8 miles to me by @EduTrace, a free registration to an upcoming conference given to me by a friend who loves mustaches, a new classroom walkthrough form created just for me by @PrincipalDurham, a rockin' pair of huge turquoise earrings "just because" given to me by @AlideGuia, time and friendship shared with me by @CAshleywilliams, and last but certainly not least, a toothpick which I'll probably save forever, given to me by @mhammons. Reflecting on this nature of giving that was so graciously poured out by these friends of mine, reminds me to give more of myself daily to those around me. 

RISK.  We hear it all the time, "Teach our students to take risks...teach them it's okay to fail... celebrate mistakes." I believe deeply in each of those statements.  However this weekend, I found myself wondering how often I'm really modeling "risk taking" for my students and colleagues. My conclusion: I'm just not sure people would consider me a risky risk-taker. My analysis: I'm not okay with that. Prepare yourselves, this principal is about to get serious when it comes to risk-taking.   

LEARN.  For the sake of not writing a novel tonight, I will just say that I learned a LOT this weekend at #fallcue. I learned so much that I cried, I laughed, and I sat amazed at the talent around me in each of the rooms I entered. Over time, I hope to share some of this learning with each of you and I hope it changes you like it changed me. On a side note, I did learn that @LS_Karl and @pronovost are WAY better at bowling than @CTuckerEnglish and I are! #embarrassing Clearly, the fact that I bowled (I hate bowling) with these three rockstars shows that I'll do just about anything to keep the "learning" going. 

TRUST.  For me, this is where things get hard. I tend to insert myself in EVERYTHING for varying reasons and mostly because I love people and want to be in the trenches with students, teachers, etc. ALL of the time! However, I'm realizing quickly, that what I need to do is believe harder than ever before in my colleagues, equip and support the many talented teacher leaders on my campus, love and care for my 416 students like there is no tomorrow, and trust that all of the pieces will fall into place as they should be.  This means letting go. It means holding on. It means continuing to surround myself with people who care. People who make me better. It means making every day a #fallcue day. It means creating a dynamic culture and leading by example, showing others what it means to Give. Risk. Learn. Trust.