Saturday, July 28, 2012

A View Back: Workshop Week

The week long leadership workshop is over.  It's been quite the experience: so intense, in fact, that I burst a blood vessel in my left eye.  Not once, but twice -- two days in a row.  It didn't particularly hurt, and isn't serious, but  I conferenced all week with one eye stained bright red so I glowered like a vampire.  It's an interesting look, but not as flattering as one might think.

Professionally, I've never been comfortable with the whole concept of being singled out as "a leader", or anything else for that matter.  I've tended to shy away from anything that may appear to be self-promoting or give the impression that I'm stuck on myself.  I'm hyper-sensitive to even the merest hint that this may be the perception.  To be honest, I also have a fear that being recognized paints a target on my back for others to shoot at.  Yes, I have trust issues.

However.  Now that I've been on this planet for over half a century, I've only very recently (within the last two years) stood up relatively straight when receiving compliments.  It's still my first instinct to duck and deflect any sort of commendation, but my eyes have been opened to the realization that being silent, staying back and hugging the shadows severely holds back any real good I can do within my school.  I think that going through cancer helped change my perspective on this -- it's just taken awhile for my actions to realign with this gradual paradigm shift.

This past workshop gave me both the rational and the tools needed to become stronger and more confident in how to create an environment where every child at our school learns.  I'm keeping my eyes on this prize because this is a cause worth any amount of personal angst I may put myself through.  I still have a long way to go with this.  I'm OK with that.

Having said all of that (and I believe every word with my whole heart), and on the last day of a workshop centered around our skills as leaders for change, yesterday I had a conversation with our district's assistant superintendent and scarcely said three sentences before I'd managed put myself down.  He rolled his eyes and so did I and then, thank God, we both laughed.  Old habits are hard to break, but I'll be glad when this one is snuffed out for good.

Today is Saturday and I'm ready to get away from school for a little while.  Bruce and I set off for Santa Cruz in a little while.  We'll play on the boardwalk (really looking forward to splashing down the rails on the Log Ride) and then visit some shops and bookstores.  There's the beach and also some good restaurants where we plan to stuff ourselves on fish.  I'm happy.

Arby giving a lesson on how to dispense with false humility.  Look at that face!

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