A week of ice breakers, activities, tech tools, feedback, presentations, data, laughter, competition, and work is the quick version of the administrative retreat for Rich Township District 227.
You Will Live as a Team, You Will Die as an Individual
I loved the focus on teambuilding and ice breaker activities. Some of my favorites included the team scrabble tournament, brown bag introductions, crowd cheering rock paper scissors tournament, the communication line activity (similar to the game of telephone but with motions and no words – HILARIOUSLY awesome and drove home the point, ESPECIALLY with the video), land mine trust walk, and find your team karaoke sing off). I think we ignore doing these activities throughout the course of the schoolyear beyond the first week. I would love to incorporate these activities both in class as well as with my division or grade level time. I’m pretty excited to use one or two with the students who plan to come help with freshmen next week. Additionally, Jeff Bonomo showed this video (spoiler alert: you might need a tissue) about how students react to hearing that you believe in them and I would love to incorporate this idea into something that I do this year.
Dr. Thomas spoke about our targets and goals and it was a breath of fresh air that the message seemed the same as the previous year as to how we will proceed with working to attain goals related to math, reading/writing, and AP. It is good that the focus remains tight and on the same goals.
Shadow a Student
I am most excited about one of the big takeaways I had from our all admin team read, Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. You can read more about my reflections in this post. I plan to shadow a student on September 10, 2019. I plan to use a freshman student and, just as Couros did, I plan to do everything that they have to do for a day. I am really interested in what life is like for a typical student. I already put this in my calendar so I am pumped :).
The thought that I kept having throughout the week is how to build and maintain trust. It is key to so many aspects of the job. I learned last year that to be clear is to be kind. I am working on ensuring that my communication is much clearer than before. I think at times I have been hung up on being liked or being nice when really people seek out good feedback that will help them in their future pursuits.
All I Do Is Win, Win, Win No Matter What
This week was filled with wins which I have to admit felt pretty good. I was on the winning escape room team. Our team won the land mine teambuilding/trust building game. We won the transportation competition (nice job Whitaker with your “prize”). We won the Kahoot for the Operations Day Kahoot. How can I give my staff and students more opportunities to win because it is a pretty awesome feeling.
Illusion Versus Reality
We had the awesome opportunity to see The Spellbinder Show. He is an illusionist and was very talented. I was intrigued by what seemed to be real but I knew really was not. I considered how this idea of how things appear versus reality plays out in our schools. How Rich South admin celebrated as if they won the bowling game but in reality, when you look at the scores, they were so very wrong 🙂 see the pictures below…. just kidding, or am I? For real though, with our school, illusions are everywhere. How our school building appears just fine from the outside, but really has a plethora of life safety needs. How our students come to school and maybe don’t wear it on their face but have a home life that makes it impossible sometimes to come to school. It really drove home the point to me that you need to look underneath what you see to really understand what is truly going on.
Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
One of the recurring themes throughout this experience was one of relationships. I learned last year as a new administrator that relationships are HUGE to being able to do my job effectively and efficiently. I want to pour into my relationships even more this year so that our staff truly knows how awesome they really are. I appreciate the dedication and time they give to the work and to our students and I want them to know they are noticed.
Last year was the first time I tried to play Spades. I felt so out of my comfort zone. Although this year was not my first time with the game, it was the first time in a while. Ms. Glenn and I did pretty well 🙂 and it was fun. I was vulnerable, made some mistakes, but overall was impressed with being able to hang in there. I need to continue to take risks to remember how that feels and help my students
Here are my sketchnotes for the week.
I haven’t felt this excited about my job since last year this time. I have so much work to do but it will be totally worth it for our students to make gains toward their future. I am excited for year two as I kinda have an idea of what to sometimes expect (but like Big Brother on TV, you always have to expect the unexpected). I am hopeful that I can get back to blogging on the regular and I can’t wait to see what I will learn this year.