We’ve been focusing on balance each Sunday and have examined how you balance your relationships within your school community, with those who await you at home, and in carrying out the tasks you do in your job. This week, we take a look at how you interact with the rest of the world (that’s neither at your school or at your home).
When I became the principal at Morgan County High School my family and I moved to the wonderful small town of Madison, GA where the school is located. In moving, we found a neighborhood that is really close to the school. Like “you can’t hear an entire song on your ride to work” close. Only a ten-twelve minute walk from front door to office close.
Like most things, there’s an upside and a downside. The upside is obvious– it was great for time management. Not losing time a lot of time in the car! The downside was a little unexpected for me.
There were times that I would be either walking or riding home and ponder, “how long has it been since I’ve left the compound? Three days? All week? Longer?”
The job of high school principal is so involved that you can really get wrapped up in it, and when I lived in our own version of faculty housing, it was even more pronounced. I was working hard at the work, but I wasn’t getting outside of the school-home bubble.
You don’t have to live right next to the school for this to slowly become your reality. You get so wrapped up into school and everything about school that you don’t really connect with the world outside of your school-home quadrant. That can become a problem.
Here are few reasons why:
- Relatability: If you are so far inside that you can hardly see outside and that you barely ever get outside, you won’t be as effective in relating to others as you need to be in your position.
- Credibility: One of your jobs is to prepare young people for the world they will be a part of away from school. If you only interact with school, how will you know what to prepare them for?
- Viability You need to get out of the school structure (physically and mentally) not only to improve your perspective to help the people at school, but to improve you for the work you’re doing. Principals and APs need to have meaningful experiences away from school and away from school people. Hobbies. Not just friends who are teachers but others as well.
Balance isn’t just one thing, but many, and balancing your immersion into your work with your participation in the world away from school can help you be better as school leader and more well-balanced as a human being.
So, put the computer away. Text some friends. Go do something. It’ll help you in all you do!
This is an installment of our Sunday series about balance. Getting balance right as the school leader is one of your most critical challenges. Please take a look at the whole series under the category of “Balance” here at Principal Matters!
Examining balance and getting it right means that you look not just what you do at work, but who you are as the whole leader. That examination means that you look at yourself and your performance in several areas, including the following:
- How you relate to others in your school “universe”;
- How you perform and accomplish the tasks necessary in your job;
- How you relate to those important to you in your life away from school;
- How you interact with the world separate from your school and your home;
- How you are developing habits that promote short-term and long-term health and energy;
- How you are growing professionally and personally; and
- How happy, joyful, and fulfilled you are.
It’s important that you learn to balance within each of these areas, as well as balance all seven together.