30 Days In

Early this month I posted a blog The Broken Principal and outlined several changes I was committed to making in an effort to be a human being, not a human doing. This is my 30-day check in and you are my accountability partners.

So here is where I am:

  1. I will only stay late when I have a pre-planned meeting or an emergency. Most days I stay until 4:00 or 5:00. When I leave school, work stays there and I go home, spending time with my husband, dogs and friends doing things I enjoy. So for the most part I have left school between 4:00 and 5:00 with a goal of being home by 5:00. I do not necessarily leave work at school. I found that spending about 30 minutes on work helped me focus and not end up asleep on the couch or waking up at 2:00 in the morning with anxiety. I also had not taken into consideration the days where I was off campus at trainings. It was more challenging on those days, not to answer emails and do some work while at home. So I am mindfully making an adjustment to spend no more than 60 minutes addressing urgent and important emails or tasks.
  2. On holidays, my work stays at school. I am not so sure I can leave my bag there, not just yet. Holidays are meant to be spent with family, dogs and friends. Family and friends are my priority during holidays. This month offered one holiday, MLK day. And amazingly I deferred anything school related until returning to work on Tuesday. I must confess, I did spent the weekend working with teachers pursuing National Board certification, but upon returning Sunday afternoon and all day Monday – no school related work.
  3. I will power down my phone and computer once I leave school. Any emails, other than emergencies will be answered the next day. My down time is important and cannot be consumed by work. I will take time each evening to answer reflective questions to evaluate my day and begin to plan the next day, taking time to visualize interactions and conversations, clearing my mind to sleep. Honestly the first week back to school I thought about the questions but did not take the time to answer them. I could power down my phone, but had trouble powering down the computer. I know that once I sit down I fall asleep, so I tried to keep busy, but also staying present and in tune with my family. A slight modification to this goal is for days I am off campus for training, I will spend 30 – 60 minutes responding to urgent and important emails.
  4. I will plan time for things I enjoy and I do not let work take that time away. Every “school day” morning I wake up at 4:00 and run with my dogs. They keep me present and focused, otherwise we get tangled up and that never ends well. On the weekends, I plan longer runs or hikes to stay active. This helps me get out of my head and start the day with a positive attitude and reduce stress. This was the easiest for me. Dogs have to be walked and that is my morning responsibility. While I was running I tried to be more aware of my surroundings. For example: I know who still has their Christmas lights up – yes I know! I also discovered during the full moon phase there is a small window, actually a moment or two between 5:20-5:30 when the full moon sets and it looks like a giant orange jelly bean squishing into the earth. I was alert enough to reroute my run so we ran right into it. I also learned not to run off the road onto the shoulder 2-3 days after rain, the desert has a funny way of retaining water. I should have taken the hint when one of my dogs began to slide sideways in the mud, but nope I just kept on going straight through the mud that is still caked onto my shoes. 
  5. I will practice meditation in the morning to quiet my mind allowing me to begin each day relaxed and focused. I will begin to notice what I am grateful for and anticipate things that are yet to come like new possibilities and new connections. I was very mindful about beginning this the first week, however I have not meditated this month. It has been weighing on my mind, I need to find a time and space to work this into my day. I am running longer and longer in the morning, which is helping me refocus and set a purpose for my day. I want to be more purposeful and schedule time to meditate in the morning after running or in the evening before bed.
  6. I will help prepare three Blue Apron meals each week with my husband. I will be fully present and enjoy our time together learning new ways to cook kale or beets and realize that we really do enjoy cod and catfish. Maybe one day we will actually prepare the garlic as instructed and not use the garlic from the jar. Nailed this one! No we still use the garlic from the jar and have even expanded to minced ginger in an effort not to dirty every cooking utensil for every meal. We continue to find new ways to prepare beets, kale and swiss chard. Who knew if prepared just so, it is very delicious!
  7. I will focus on being a human being, not a human doing. I will ask questions and stop to listen for responses. I want to learn about the people in my life and who they are and I will have the courage to be fully present. Week one this was an epic fail, however as I stopped to reflect on my progress, I decided to continue forward and not let one setback derail everything. I have become more organized at work and schedule everything into my calendar. This gives me the space and time to complete important work and set new goals. Over the past 30 days, I have completed walkthrough observations in nearly all classrooms, met with teacher for a mid-year data reflection and have already scheduled second round evaluations and February walk throughs. 

There it is 30 days in. Where are you with your new year’s resolution? What strategies have you incorporated into your daily routine?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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