Staying on Course

I sat down with Head Cheese the other day and poured out my frustrations and concerns about the new program we began at the beginning of the school year and that several of my staff are threatening to quit.

What the heck kind of administrator am I going to be if I can’t keep a staff from quitting in frustration when the going gets a little tough?

Okay, it’s been more than a little tough. It’s been very, very tough.He looked at me with one of those, “Lisa, you’ve got to stop talking in generalities” kinds of looks. He knew I was serious because I asked him what I’m doing wrong … I asked him if I’m pushing my people too hard. I know we’ve all been working really hard and I, too, am almost to the point of frustration and exhaustion where I want to say, “Hang it all! We’re dropping this program and going back to what we’ve done in the past.” Even though I know that what we’re doing now is of greater benefit to our students.

That’s the kicker. Our students are really showing a lot of improvement under this new program and it would be way beyond stupid to step backwards and do what we did in the past just because we’re all tired.

It’s got to get better. It’s just got to.

The only analogy that I can think of is my first half marathon. I trained for months for that race. I even worked out at distances longer than the actual race, just so I’d have an idea of what to expect on race day.

The race was in some ways exactly what I expected and in others nothing like I expected. What it all boiled down to was the fact that I was prepared both mentally and physically for the race. And while I was on the course, I encountered folks that were ready to give up and I walked alongside them and encouraged them to keep moving forward because the goal was just around the corner.

We just finished the first leg of this race called the 2007/2008 school year and we’re coming up to our first real water station (Thanksgiving break) in a good couple of miles (months). The homestretch isn’t anywhere in sight right now and we’re still on the upward side of the course.

We’ve trained for this and “kind of” knew what to expect during our first year of implementation. There have been some unexpected bumps in the road and it’s easy to lose focus and dwell on those rather than on the goal, which is the success of our students.

The big question is: Can I keep my staff motivated enough to keep staying the course and see it through to the end of the school year?

Please, Lord. Let it be so.

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