Fish is Fish

Over the past 18 years I have been a teacher, an instructional coach, a mentor and a student. This year I had a unique opportunity to look at teaching through a different lens. I began to examine education through the eyes of a principal. I completed my internship in the fall and coursework and state examination in the spring. All the while, I felt like the frog in the story Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni.

In the story, a tadpole and minnow were inseparable friends. They swam among the weeds in a pond. Time passes and the tadpole discovers he has legs and his tail disappears. The minnow thought that was complete nonsense, as the day before they were both fish. They argued and argued and finally the tadpole said, “Frogs are frogs and fish are fish.”

Time passed and one day the frog climbed out of the water onto the grassy bank. Days and weeks went by. Then one day, the frog jumped back into the pond to tell the fish of his adventures. “I have seen extraordinary things,” exclaimed the frog. He goes on to tell the fish about birds, and cows, and people! The picture in the fish’s mind was full of lights and colors and marvelous things. If only he could jump about like his friend and see that wonderful world.

This year during my internship and coursework, I had the opportunity to jump out of my role as an instructional coach and view the world as a principal. As I traveled around the district visiting different schools I began to see extraordinary things. I observed how principals interacted with their staff, with students, parents and the community. I observed different leadership styles and talked with principals about how they inspire and advocate for teachers. I inquired about challenges and obstacles of being an instructional leader. This year has been a roller coaster of sorts, but my mind is full of lights and colors and marvelous things.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly

disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles Swindell


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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