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How Do You Handle the Chaos, Conflict and Confusion?

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Many of the posts on this blog are about making positive change for the benefit of the students we serve. Believe me, I'm all for that and am working hard to make a difference. But do you ever have days where it seems like all that is surrounding you is chaos, conflict and confusion? I'm not talking just from staff as it could be also from parents, students and the community. I know what you are thinking. Change is difficult for most folks and so you have to be ready for that and allow time for people to process what you are asking of them. Conflict can be good; it can mean growth. Confusion means people are at least asking questions and you can use this time to clarify your vision. I truly get all of that.

But sometimes, it can feel a bit daunting. Especially to us new administrators who want to get along and play nice, but didn't sign up to take this ride passively and so we create change to make things better. Know what I mean?

So, how do you handle it? Do you have a mentor to vent/talk to? Do you work it out at the gym? Do you take a mental health day? Are you drinking heavily and ready to slit your wrists? (I use this question as a gauge to see how my staff are doing. If they don't laugh, I know it's serious).

I have more good days than bad and I like what I am doing. Humor certainly helps. But every now and then, I am in awe of how difficult it all can be. And I just wondered if you ever felt that way too.

Reggie Engebritson

2 Comments

Reggie,
It does get better but a sense of humor really helps me. I try to find humor in everything even if it is silent humor in my own head:):):)I do have other principals to call and vent to. My husband doesn't understand and doesn't want to hear it. For the past two weeks I have stress eaten so badly that I have to make a conscious effort to stop. I try to work out when I can fit it in. Twitter is helping me because I can keep an eye on it during work and it gives me a laugh every now and then.
YES, IT GETS BETTER!!!

Reggie and Melinda,
I'm a first year principal, in a new district, in an elementary with most of my experience, both teaching and as an AP, in middle schools. I recently attended a Will Richardson keynote speech which both beat me down with my own ignorance of technology and inspired me to learn about blogs (this is my first posting), wikis, on and on. I've got two young children and I'm committed to NOT missing out on being a part of their childhoods. It's like sipping from a firehose, but I'm loving every minute. As to how I cope, a veteran principal told me at the first district administration meeting that my first year would be a blur. I've kept that in mind as I try to maintain a balance between leading this school in a positive direction for our kids, learning the myriad ropes so I can do that more effectively, and enjoying a personal life. I do try to work out twice a week. Five in the morning is brutal but it's the only time I can do it. And I was lucky to have a supervisor who told me that almost everything can wait until tomorrow - not the professional code I've lived by, but it sure was encouraging. The hands down hardest part has been maintaining myself, and building in others, a clear focus on defining and practicing good instruction.
Brian

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