Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ready or Not!

Ready or Not?

My niece Lindsay is having a baby today. She’s a 29 year old, college graduate, an officer with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, married to a great guy, and a homeowner in a nice neighborhood. We were sending text messages back and forth about a week ago, and she wrote, “I don’t know if I’m ready. I’m scared. I’m worried.” I sent a message back that no one is ever ready for parenthood, and what she doesn’t know now, she will learn along the way.

My own 23 year old son is here visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I can say I am still learning. There is no way that I was ready 23 years ago for all of the experiences, challenges, tears, hugs, smiles, fights, and love we have shared. 
25 Years Old and "Ready or Not"
As a teacher during the day, I tried to be a teacher at home, too. I read to my son, took him to museums, national parks, church, etc. Yes, I felt comfortable in the role of teacher. But he has been a teacher too, and I the learner. He taught me that I wasn’t ready but I was ready to learn. He has taught me not to give up, on him or myself. He has taught me to be patient and persistent, to look at things in a new way, to compromise, and to ask for help from him and our “village”, to be resourceful (and as a single mom for more than a decade I really needed to be resourceful). And most recently, during this visit, he has taught me that I still have so much more to learn. He’s a great human being (my time to brag: an Army veteran, a small business owner, a person of compassion), and we have done a great job teaching and learning from each other. But he’s not a perfect young man, still facing dilemmas and challenges, and I am not a perfect parent. We are a family work in progress.

The many lessons I have learned from my son Steven I am trying to apply to my job as Assistant Principal of a 1:1 device school. Two years ago when it was determined we would go 1:1, I thought there was no way we were ready. No way! Good thing I had my son as a teacher.
  • We cannot give up. “How can we make it work?” needs to replace “It can’t work” (thanks Susan)
  • We must be patient and persistent. We won’t find every solution overnight and new problems will pop up everyday.
  • We can learn new things and look at problems in a new way.
  • We can compromise. We don’t need to create a long list of rules for the students or be in control of all situations or scenarios.
  • We need to ask for help from the students, from the feeder schools, from the parents, from the district, from the community.
  • We need to be resourceful. How can we communicate our needs and see that our students get what they need to be successful? 

We have come a very long way in such as short time. We can be very proud of our accomplishments (my time to brag again: we are ahead of many large districts in our implementation of technology, we have more teachers doing amazing things than teachers resisting, our students are seen as experts by the teachers and community), and we have done an unbelievable job of teachers being both leaders and learners. But we are not done learning. We will continue with our own dilemmas and challenges. We will face the common core, lack of word processing experience, and problems not yet imagined. We are a school in progress.

My wish for Lindsay today is a safe delivery of my great-niece Gracie Ann. And of course, I hope she and her husband Matt have many years of learning ahead.