Begin With the End in Mind

I’ll be honest there are days and weeks that simply kick my butt. The past weeks are evident of that. The lines are blurred and Monday flows into Tuesday, into Wednesday, into Thursday and Friday. That leaves me thinking and wondering on Saturday and Sunday. Each week overflows into the next. We fight the good fight and do what is best for kids. But sometimes it feels like our best is not enough. I invite you to read through my rants, through my frustration and ultimately my lesson and reflection.

To the parents who feel they have the right to fill up my voice mail with foolishness. How interesting that it is never your child who has to step up and take responsibility for their actions. It somehow becomes my crusade to make sure your child is not be “bullied”. I have to be mindful of their actions or reactions to other students. What if indeed they are not the victim, but they are an aggressor? How will you take that information? I now need to wonder how you will react, how your child will react, as well as all children involved.

I am responsible for keeping nearly 800 students safe when your kid decides they are not going to follow directions and simple requests. When they decide they are going to leave the class and walk away from the teacher. When they decide they are done listening and will not comply with the consequences of their behavior. I get to receive the punches they throw because they are mad and not allowed to enter a room full of students until they get their emotions in check. So think about how you send your kid off to school, do you send them full of anger or have you addressed the issues so they can move on and come to school ready to learn?

I am the bad guy when you walk your kids into school 15 minutes late every morning. You think I don’t like you. Let me clarify for you, I am mad because I know how hard it is for me when I am late to work or for an appointment. I know the anxiety and the feeling of chaos I feel walking in late. And then I think about your kids and what they must feel walking into class late every day? When you bring your kids late, they have to jump into instruction already in progress. The morning transitions have already happened. Now they have to catch up and figure out what is going on. Yes of course our teachers monitor and adjust and welcome them, but they are still late! Please get your kids to school on time.

I now have to wonder if the cookies your child brought into school and shared with classmates were made for medicinal purposes or with traditional ingredients. Come on! Give me a break. Your choices, your actions impact your child, which impacts our school. Please think about your actions and what consequences they have, intended or unintended. What you do at your home, with your family is your business until your child comes in and shares, then it becomes our business.

You get the idea, all of our actions have consequences, sometimes it just seems like they all land at school. I began to look for answers and that’s when I found it. “Many families are managed on the basis of crisis, moods, quick fixes, and instant gratification – not sound principles. Symptoms surface whenever stress and pressure mount: people become cynical, critical, or silent or they start yelling and overreacting. Children who observe these kinds of behavior grow up thinking the only way to solve problems is to flight or fight.”

So now with that information, how do I stay mindful and begin with the end in mind?

 

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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