Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seek First to Understand

This month, our school is focusing on the habit of "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood".  As a principal, I try to model this habit with my students, staff, and parents.  In fact, I think I'm pretty good at it...or at least I used to.  Recently, something happened that made me question how well I really practice that habit.

About a month ago, we were awaiting the arrival of our school pizza kit orders.  It also happened to be on the same day as a school wide assembly (that I had already had to reschedule).  In an attempt to be swift and decisive, I told the building supervisor that I needed the gym for the assembly (as I had already posted it on the schedule) and that pizza kits would be delivered to a designated classroom.  He agreed.  When the day for the delivery came, the coordinator came to me extremely upset because of the move and said the Pizza Kits simply could not fit in the designated space.  I assured her that I has spoken to my building supervisor and that he had agreed to it.  When I followed up, he did know that kits would not fit in the designated room.  When I asked him why he had agreed to my "request" he said that I had already made up my mind about it and there was no point in arguing with me.  Wow, that stopped me in my tracks.  Was I really that single minded when I had made a decision? Sadly, the answer was yes.

The truth is, the trait of being decisive and making quick decisions has often helped me in my role as principal.  Sometimes a decision just has to be made and then we move on to the next issue.  Now I was realizing that this attribute could also be a liability.  Especially when I work with children and families that come from a variety of backgrounds.  Every situation is not the same and I can't continue to be cavalier about making decisions without taking into account all the viewpoints and listening to all the stakeholders.  Yes, I need to be decisive as a principal and No, I can't please everyone all the time.  However, I can make every effort to listen to those around me and more importantly to try to understand their points of view.  As the lead learner at my school, I need to do more than just recite the habits, I need to start living them as well.

"The Thinker" by Rodin 


"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." - Mahatma Gandhi

"The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." Leonardo da Vinci

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein 

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood (2 minute video)


Friday, April 17: Lunch in the lounge (from Mangia's)

Tuesday, April 21: (lunch in classrooms)
                                Jon to M-Step Meeting 1:00-4:00 
Wednesday, April 22: Earth Day Schoolwide Clean Up
                                   2nd Grade Talking Zoo (lunch in classrooms)
                                   Administrative Professionals Day
Thursday, April 23: Staff Meeting 8:00 
                                4th Grade Class Picture 9:15
Tuesday, April 28: PBS Committee 8:05
Thursday, April 30: Student of the Month Assembly 3:00 
Friday, May 1: Kindergarten Round Up Planning Meeting 8:15 am
                         4th Grade "Wax Museum" 

Tuesday, May 5: No Students (Teacher PD day/Election Day)
Wednesday, May 6: Arts,Beats,Eats and Books (Ice Cream Social) 6:00-8:00 pm
Monday, May 11: Data Dive (rotating subs)
Thursday, May 14: Kindergarten Round Up (morning only)

photo credit: 

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to your staff member who was honest with his feedback. Sometimes I find myself making a quick decision and not asking enough questions. I always use it a learning opportunity to be better the next time around. In my 9th year as an administrator, I think I'm finally getting it right most of time! :-)