Newness is…

Looking back and realizing that I have not blogged since March. This is not surprising at all and yet, not indicative of any lack of reflection. I spent a good deal of time over the summer processing my Southern adventure and beginning anew in a very different school community. First time homeownership, reconnecting with old friends, soaking in every bit of my new school culture, and spending a lot of time at work has been time and energy well spent.

A new school and new leadership presents opportunities for many things, but one thing remains, being new is hard. As a new to the space leader, I want to simultaneously build community, create clarity, provide support, find optimal challenge, stay on the balcony, listen, and show off some good dance moves. Doing all of this is hard. In Tuckman’s stages, forming and storming are certainly the most challenging. Thoughtful, strategic, and empathetic decisions are necessary while at the same time, due to the realistic nature of schools, sometimes you’re just making on the fly decisions. Add to this the considerations of Quaker Leadership and Decision-Making and cognitive saturation can come fast!

Last week, a caterpillar friend found its way onto the railing outside our building. Caterpillars of all shapes and sizes and types are found regularly on our 140 acres, but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen on that truly looked like it came straight out of Eric Carle. It was the perfect metaphor for the most important thing I will undertake in a year of newness. This caterpillar was scoping out their surroundings and using all of their senses to find the path, when they started to stray towards the edge, I laid a finger down for gentle re-direction. It didn’t appear at first as though they had a plan, but they most assuredly did, as by the time carpool was over, they had moved onto their next adventure. The metaphor lies in the ability for this tiny creature to trust their senses, respond to re-direction, and stay the course. But additionally, how might we pause in awe and wonder to things around us? How might we have the curiosity to ask questions around us? And, as Kindergarten noted well, how might we ask for what we want and need?

So here I go, beginning a new with curiosity, wonder, response to feedback, staying the course, and trusting the process. May the teeniest of teachers never fail to guide.

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