As the new school year is upon us, I find myself almost burning out instead of charging up. There are certain logistical aspects of the school year that make me want to run and hide. To be clear, it’s not the kids. It’s NEVER the kids. It’s the redundant questions about things that I have absolutely no control over. And it’s the most frustrating thing ever.
I must admit, I struggled when deciding whether or not to write this post. There’s a fine line between venting frustrations and sharing lessons learned. There is also the concern that people will read my words and become offended or misinterpret something that I said. But honestly, that is a risk that I am willing to take. I have always been a person of honesty and transparency, almost to a fault. Telling the truth should not be political. And if my experiences can help even one person in their own leadership journey, than the risk is definitely worth it. You see, leadership development classes don’t teach you how to navigate the political landmines that are ever present in the K-12 landscape. EVERYTHING is political, and has the potential to be career suicide…or so people would have you to believe.
Let me get back to the point of this post. I’m frustrated. I work hard. I am essentially a K-12 project manager with one exception; I don’t have any autonomy over most of the projects that I manage. Most of the time, I’m okay with that, but there are specific times of the year when that becomes extremely frustrating. The beginning of the school year is one of those times, and I’ll explain why. One of my areas of expertise is implementing systems and procedures that make redundant processes more efficient. It’s a gift, what can I say! (lol) And I become extremely frustrated when I know how to fix an issue, have made suggestions about how to fix an issue, but I don’t actually have the authority to fix the issue. As a result, I find myself here at the start of another school year dealing with the same problem that could have been resolved 2 years ago. (Yes, that says 2 years.)
I would love to tell you that I have learned how to NOT get frustrated with the situation, but that would be an absolute lie. I am only human. I am, however, learning how not to let my feelings of frustration cloud my professional judgement. I am learning how to not let my frustration change my views and opinions of the people that I work with. I am learning how to not let my frustration affect my relationships with my colleagues (trust me…this one has taken the most work.) There is no magic bullet for learning how to process through these (or any other) emotions. Everybody is different, and every situation is unique. I would encourage you to discover what works for you. For me it varies. Some days, the right music playlist can take away all of my worries. On other days, I listen to a podcast or Ted Talk that helps me become grounded and remember why I started down this road in the first place. And of course, there are still days that I choose to sit in my feelings because you can’t process or work through emotions that you don’t allow yourself to feel.
No matter how you or I choose to process through these feelings, the one thing we must remember is that we have to work through them in order to function at our best. So here’s to processing frustration, and rekindling the fire before school starts. Our students and teachers deserve my best when they show up, and I’m willing to do the work that will ensure that’s exactly what they get!