Distractions. They come to you when you are confronted with things that are out of the ordinary. If you live some place where it hardly ever rains, you and your school may be confronted with some planning to do during a deluge or a bad storm. If you live in the Southeast part of the US, you are most likely spending a lot of your time on your local forecast sites tonight. Weather.com has become your homepage. It’s winter where it rarely is winter, and that means keeping up with the conditions to make sure that you take care of the safety of any traveling sports teams, field trips, or conferences.
For the principal and assistant principal, it also means that whether you have frozen precipitation or not, you are now full-faced into the frenzy that comes with even a hint of a prediction of snow and ice. There is nary a loaf of bread nor a container of milk. Speculation of delays and cancellations run rampant. We have entered the distraction zone.
While your primary focus, as it should be, is on the safety and well-being of all of your people, you also hold the unique role of keeping everyone moving forward on their journey to academic success, regardless of a little snow or ice. You don’t want to seem like the world’s grouchiest person as you try to wish the snow away, but it is your role to keep the school moving forward.
How do you handle it? Perhaps it’s good to think about how you typically respond to distractions? What do you do as the leader to keep everyone focused on the work?
If a few days of snow were our only distraction, we would probably be able to enjoy a snow day here and there. The truth is, distractions are all around us, all year long, no matter what the weather may be. Our students face a litany of distractions that can keep them from doing their best work. Those distractions can come from their home environment, peer issues, even social media (!)
During this winter’s “snow season”, you’ll play the role of the person who brings everyone back to the main thing, narrowing a point on which your students and teachers should focus. Eventually the snow will melt and it’ll get warmer, but just because it’s less obvious doesn’t mean that we are rid of distractions. What is it that we can do as school leaders to help everyone maintain their focus on quality academic work?
We’ll tackle that in detail in a later piece. For now, I need to check the weather update. 🙂