Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Overwhelmed

I have not written in a while, and I don't really have an excuse.  I say that I am overwhelmed, but is it any different than the years where I wrote a lot more?  I would say, "no". 

So what is it?  I think I have found myself in my head a lot more lately.  What does this mean?  For me, it means I keep having some of the same negative self-talk, or maybe a better description is, "frustrated mantra" repeating over and over in my head. 

What did I used to do to get past this or avoid it all together?  I think there were 3 main components.  I have realized 2 of the 3 I am not doing.  For me they are Exercise, Sleep Well, and Write.  I have been exercising lately, but the other 2 have been a struggle.  So by writing this blog, I have now done the writing part. 

I am headed to exercise, now if I could just get to bed earlier.

I then think any feeling of being overwhelmed, won't go away, but will be easier to manage. 

Stress is good, feeling defeated (overwhelmed) is not.  I want to go back to being stressed! That sounds funny just typing it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Remaining Calm

You will have many opportunities to get excited, stressed, and even angry as a school leader.  Through experiences, you will learn how to deal with each situation. You will learn how to pull this part of that experience and that part of that experience to help guide you through the current situation.


This experience is something that can’t be taught or read about, but you can be prepared for mentally.  The experience will help you solve the “problem” in the most efficient manner keeping as many people happy with the outcome as possible. You can talk with a mentor or colleague to get an opinion on how to deal with something, but they can’t teach you how to feel about the situation.  


So there is no short-cut or “hack” to experience, but there is a short-cut to how you feel in the moment.  This short-cut is making sure to expect the worst, be ready for whatever might come at you. Realize and accept that you are often times the last person there to deal with the “issue” that has come up.  Keep in mind that most of these “problems” are not because of you or your leadership, but need your leadership to be solved. All that being said, make sure to remain calm. Urgency might be really important, but you can still remain calm.  


To remain calm, might look like a pause, maybe a “give me a second”.  Allow yourself to hear the whole situation or hear the person out that has come to you.  If time permits ask a bunch of follow-up questions. Get a clear picture of what is going on.  In my experience, just having these thoughtful conversations has created a solution to the problem or issue. 


As a young admin, I was able to stay calm, but, I rushed to solve the problem to move on to the next problem.  I may have “looked” hurried or put off the perception that I was overwhelmed because of the speed at which I wanted to help.  


As I am getting older and gaining more experience I am learning to stop and “think” about the problem when able and ask questions to get to the heart of the problem.


Through it all, even in my younger years, I have been able to keep my face calm most of the time.  This is important, it instills confidence in those around you. I now have a few go to lines to make sure my initial response to staff, students, parents, or whomever keeps me grounded in calmness:
“That seems to be really unfortunate”
“Ok, how can I help with this?”
“Ok, what are we going to do about this?”


And my new favorite that I am trying out:


“This seems like a dynamic situation”  I just think the word dynamic is perfect for describing a possible difficult situation.

Find your saying, practice your face, ask questions, take a moment if you can, and move forward.  Remember, often through the conversation the solution comes out.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Just a Thought

Don't know where this is going
I feel like I am knowing
But lack the ability for showing
Flow in, Flow out, I need you to know
This is not a movement, but 30 years
Building, don't know why it hit me
Just found a place to see
Wide awake, trying to not be fake
Don't take, not without mistake
My whiteness has been fabricate
By history I been told, I did not make
I took, I was young, we all were found
We all were brought down
By the history, we told command
It is to learn to unlearn, history inform
Need more work in lessons of those down
To help those, with which our crown
A white space to share abound, how
We need to listen to comprehend
Not to listen to respond
And then work to plan
The ultimate humankind

My short bars, a rap song in the making
Never to be sung, but for me in my thinking

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Got Rid of Email on My Phone Today

Watch this video first!  I look so young! hahahahah  - It is short and from 2016




I made the decision to get rid of school email on my phone today.  I know others have probably done this or never had email on their phone.  I was reminded about this by "Humble the Poet" on the Brilliant Idiots podcast a few weeks back. 

I blog to get and idea out, to rhyme through poetry, to try and make an idea concrete, and sometimes just as a time capsule for my enjoyment in retirement.  I enjoy writing now to read later when I have time to really reflect on the decisions I made.  I think this is a solid decision.  Below are the reasons why and how this is going to work.

I am currently in my 5th year, maybe 6th year as the principal at Carrie Downie Elementary School.  I came there after 7 years as an AP with no cell phone at all.  I am not perfect and have many areas of growth, but one thing I think I get right is accessibility.  I am accessible to all staff almost all the time, usually not in my office though, as I am rarely there.  You can find me other ways, text, stop by the room, hallway, email, DM, Voxer, call, etc. 

So here is the why and the how this is going to work.

  • I was riding my bike with my children 3 weeks ago and we stopped to drink some water.  I checked my email.  
  • I was at the beach this summer, kids were diving in waves, I sat in my chair and checked my email.
  • Yesterday, I stopped at a red light and checked my email.  I have done this for 5 years religiously.  Stop driving, stop walking, sitting, standing still, walking, equals "check your email."  

I am reading email 2-3 times before responding.  I hesitate to respond on my phone because I have big fingers and typing that way has never been easy for me.  I even moved to a slide keyboard on my phone and no help. 

So it was a problem.  I am solution oriented, so what to do?  I went back to what Humble advised me from Brilliant Idiots podcast.  Basically and in summary, if you erase a mode, you erase an urge and therefore make what makes most sense to you, not what you think you need.

So I grabbed my old phone.  I put email on that, it is WIFI enabled at school and home. 

I have a laptop, that obviously gets my email.

That is all I need.  I have email in WIFI only now.  I don't need to check email at the light.  I don't need to check email at water stops on bike rides on Sunday. 

If you need me that bad, I got text, I got Voxer, I got DMs, I got calling ability, I have still a half dozen ways that you can get in touch with me quickly. 

I have not had to respond to an email in minutes or even hours in many years, if ever.  And if it is that important, because of links, etc.  Text me to check my email.  I am fine with that! 

I am just breaking a bad habit and cold turkey is the way for this one. 

What this has done for me already in just 6 hours

I am scared, I am afraid I am going to go back.  I am afraid I will fall too far behind.  I am scared that come Friday, I am loading my email back on my phone.  

I have confidence that when I make changes like this, I have proven to myself in the past, that I am able to train my practice and brain to adapt to these new routines.  

I am excited for the weekend!  I will check my computer, I have my old phone, I will still see emails.  I will see emails purposefully to respond, not out of habit, because I have 3-10 seconds to check something.  I think this will make me a better communicator.  I hope.  It is not an experiment.  I am committed.  






Thursday, August 8, 2019

Motivation to Do it Again...

Been at this since 2004, 27 year old, Thanksgiving break child
First story, 8th grade, fight break up, para stop, all nostalgia normal
Now 14 years in ADMIN... 4 years taught, I admit, 5th grade thought, I would sit
Then I learned telling others, meant model, so many stories to tell...legit
That time we, the things I see, now 14 years, I finally feel I know me
No tree planted, one word, free, from my whiteness, always seemed extra gear
There is always a fear, fear relationships, will bring me near
Dear not John, the weight of another year, weighs a ton
"Say Less" my inspiration for this blog post
The single moment, most, I want to be a white ghost
Not casper, but dapper, a in your face, replace, no need for mace
Trace my map, 2016 "DAP", Hip Hop was my trap
Now I find myself loving kids, "our kids" staying tight
Been calling it that since 2004 GR, cried every night
Just an OG rhyme, think a few can learn from the time
That is all, for now, following the, as I know my
Need to learn the game to understand their why
I got a preference, it ain't mine, I know what needs to be happening
I got timing, I got referencing, I mow my grass, I did this 20 minute writing
You can white while defending, supporting, and shutting up to listen
It is your mouth, experience, and fragility on this mission white person.



Crazy, as I need 12 more years to retire. I am not leaving building admin.  I will be 26 years admin when I leave.  I may write a book then.... I may not.  No need for more "white" stories.  You may have to come talk to me about what you want to do... I choose stories... I need to listen more as you have shared with me... Working on it! I promise!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A serious mess up

I literally just wrote a blog about a green pepper and a mole
Here are the pictures, proof, I need, as I signed in as someone else
#googleaccountissues

Here is my reflection on the blog I spent all night writing and then deleted in 3 clicks by mistake, not to be recovered somehow in the world of Google, because of having multiple Google Accounts open at same time.  Trust me, I am not a new Google user.


It was two, maybe three... Thousand words
My failure, interestingly compounding
What was it, what did it say..
Basically, LIfe After Death, Poppa says...

I clicked the "refresh" button and because I had signed into another Google Account that was not this one, it did not save my time or efforts.

So you are left with the blog below, which is not really that inspiring or helpful in any sense.  It is a metacognitive approach, where I am writing for me, that worked really well for a while.  So trying again.




Then the Google photo paused my move, so I promptly
Figured out who I was to me, the guy that was gonna succeed
Click, pause, spin, wait, delete sure, don't need that page
Can't connect, last hours typing, creating, simply freeing

Imagine everything you say or type disappear
Contagious would be, wishing for days of Dear,
But wait, this is the moment, the day, the state of
Union, agreement Founding Fathers, Not so near

Here it is the moment of my life, emoji free
White people take it too seriousleeeee
Felt like tonight was my end, wrote, now made
Just another example of my balding head and Fragiliteeeee.


Earmuff music that I wrote too - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoyX-ILJDxg



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

To Be Reflective Is To Be Effective

So I sat there at 1:00pm and watched a high school drum line.  I have seen many drum lines, I was very impressed, they were good.  Then there was this guy... white shirt, baggy pant, knots in his hair like Coolio for me.  He @docspeaks on twitter, American flag book bag, thought he was the drum line "hype" man.  Then thought something more as he continued to walk around the crowd, doing his thing.


I was called out in my head, I started to think about what he was doing.  I fell to his experiment, I think of myself as someone that understands my bias, I had bias against him before he spoke.... He "got me" so good, not like he understood me, but he got me feeling a certain white way about him.  He achieved with me, I think what he wanted.  I applied my bias to him. I really did, I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit this... 

He then went on to explain in a way that helped me to understand, laugh, and realize, I still have bias.  I still need to work on my filter, #realtalk. I was affected physically and emotionally in a way that no speaker has ever made me feel.  My hands were wet with tears as I continued to clear my eyes.    

So thank you Dr. Brown, thank you for making me cry in laughter, but also in sorrow, all while realizing that you did this for me, to be better.  To be as you said, "nice is reactive, kindness is proactive". 

I can not do justice with these typed words of what this experience meant to me, but it was #cleartheair to a different level.  I got caught, I got called out, I got in my #whiteness.  

I am better now than I was this morning thanks to you! 



He came on the stage as one person and left another, I need to make sure I recognize both Dr. Brown's.