Posted by: principalsintraining | March 28, 2014

Attention Leaders: Remember to Bring the Mirth, Joy, and FUN

Back Camera

The Ides of March are upon us.  Spring is ramping up while at the same time the internal reservoirs of energy, patience, flexibility, attunement to the moment, humor, and grit start to run dry.  So what to do?  School leaders play a huge role in setting the tone for the organization, so when the collective mood starts to dampen there’s really only ONE thing to do:

Get goofy.

That can take a variety of forms.  It could look like lining up for some game at an all-school rally where you get your face slathered in shaving cream and then it’s unclear exactly what’s happening but eventually you are able to open your eyes and lots of people are laughing.

Or you do an April Fool’s Day teacher switcheroo – the Art teacher takes over Math.  It’s by no means lost instructional time – there’s a lesson plan and everything!  Let the kids really be the experts and help the adult.

Or because spring is exploding around you and all anyone can do is look out the window (if your room has windows…) then put out an APB to staff to bust out the Pop-Up Classroom.  Do you think kids will be more distracted out here than in your room?  A humungous part of me says “no.”  I’d wager that the shift in environment will wake up a part of their mind that seven months in the too-familiar architecture of their classrooms have put to sleep.

blog pop up classAnd it’s not just the kids that benefit from a change of scenery.  How about liberating your staff meeting from whatever space is overly-accustomed to hosting it and sitting down underneath a blue sky?  And the agenda for the meeting?  Recognize the incredible work being done by the staff!  At this meeting we honored our Golden Bell nominees and winners, as well as a teacher/coach who is one of 25 people nationwide (out of 1,700 nominees) to win the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Coach Award.  Key ingredient to delivering these recognitions – big, huge HUGS.

blog mtg

We moved this gathering into a computer lab where we showed this clip:

What’s your key takeaway from this?  YES.  PLAY.

Whatever you choose to do/disrupt, find ways to connect as people beyond the confines (physical and otherwise) of the school campus and school routine.

Kenneth Durham wrote a great post recently that talks about the conditions for happy work/learning spaces.  Yes, I am perfectly comfortable using a term like “happy” in describing the ideal school/organization.  His findings?  Nurture the relationships, move away from the precept of being in charge.  (I LOVE Kenneth!)

Elementary Principal Catina Haugen shares some terrific thoughts on on the importance of social time to bring a staff closer together.  (Catina is #eduFABULOSA)

When all else fails there are donuts/doughnuts (this is a major morphological divide amongst some of us aficionados – I’m hopeful we can heal the rift).

blog donutsLeaders: whatever you do, stay attuned to the tenor and mood of your staff and students.  What is the greatest contribution you can make when we’re all in the doldrums?  Be a goofball.

clown

(Portrait of me, courtesy of a student.  Thank you!)

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