This is such a busy time of year with closing out the school year, but a few weeks ago I was able to take a moment to reflect as I was signing diplomas for our graduating class of 2012. It struck me how fast this year has gone, considering that it seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I was sitting and wondering what this new job would entail.
I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my reflections on all that I’ve learned this year. There is so much to my learning in my first year that I couldn’t possible list it all; I do realize that I still have a long way to go.
Some of my key reflections that I’d like to share are these:
- Every day brings a new adventure.
- Just when you think you are on solid ground, you get a new situation to deal with that you have absolutely no idea how to solve.
- Rely on others whom you trust and who have expertise.
- Find a mentor…or two.
- Never portray that you have all the answers, but portray confidence that you can find a solution.
- Accept that you can’t be everywhere at every moment.
- Don’t make spontaneous decisions or knee jerk reactions – it only causes more problems than it is worth.
- Take time to be with students in the classroom – the rewards are great and it puts priorities where they need to be!
- Listen, listen, listen.
- Empower those around you and work with staff; do not have the attitude that they work for you.
- Be a servant leader.
- Take time to reflect on ways to improve and write those ideas down. Otherwise important things will be forgotten.
- Take time to celebrate successes.
- Cherish every moment, good and bad, and learn from every experience.
With the start of the 2011-2012 school year, Betsy Fera begins her first year as Executive Director of Horizon Community Learning Center in Phoenix. She has previously worked as a teacher, Master Teacher, and Media Specialist at Horizon Community Learning Center. In the past few years, she was the TAP Systems Director for Arizona State University, working on education reform in the College of Education. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.