Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Twitter and getting the feeling that you aren’t doing enough? Do you ask yourself how others find time to do what they do? Having an online professional learning network (PLN) is extremely important and beneficial; however, if I am being honest, I have found myself comparing where I am and what I am doing with others.
Your Behind the Scenes vs. Their Highlight Reel
In real life, to make an impact or see positive results takes time. The work that we see posted online is other people’s highlight reels. It is the best of the best that an individual has to display. It is not the behind-the-scenes look at the daily grind it took to get to that moment.
When we look at these posts, we compare their highlight reels to our behind the scenes. We don’t see the work it took to kick off incorporating the “house system,” like the Ron Clark Academy. It does not show all the home visits that went to improving daily attendance. Administrators do not post the late nights and early mornings that we put in to take the extra work off the desks of our teachers and staff so they can come in and be the best they can be.
It is dangerous to compare your behind the scenes with other people’s highlight reels because you will never measure up. Their highlight reel may take behind-the-scenes work that you may not have the time or opportunity to do. That is OK!
Your highlight reel is not supposed to be the best you see in others.
Your Best for Right Now
Always remember that you were hired because of what you have to offer. We often sell ourselves short because we feel there is always more that needs to be done. Guess what? You are right! There will always be more that can and will be done.
The goal is always to be the best you can be for today, right now, at this very moment. We move from fire to fire, decision to decision, behavior issue to behavior issue. In the midst of that, you check in with your staff, return phone calls, send out cards, make a student’s birthday feel special, greet students at the door, and so much more!
You can’t compare what you were able to do yesterday, last year, or what others can do in a day. You have to be the best that you can be for that day.
When you stop and look at the best you were for that day, you will realize all the great things you have accomplished.
Create Your Own Highlight Reel
First, let me say if you are not on Twitter, what are you waiting for? I have developed some fantastic professional relationships and friendships through Twitter chats and stories. I have found that this has helped me feel like I am not on an island going through this principalship journey by myself.
One important step I did take with my PLN is to put everything into perspective. I had to stop watching, viewing, scrolling in admiration, and move to action steps. I had to create my own highlight reel. Here are ways you can do the same:
1. Tell your story.
If you don’t tell your story, then someone else will tell it for you. We often hear that when talking about our school building. I believe this is also true in the role of principalship. We often tell other people’s stories and do not even think about our own. Remember, your story is also part of your school’s perception. Students, parents, staff, and community members need to know who you are, what you are doing, and the impact you are having.
2. Borrow great ideas.
Many of my best ideas have been borrowed from inspiration from what others are doing around the country. I wish I could say I have many original ideas. Instead, I take many ideas that I have seen or read about and put a spin on them to make them more of me or impactful for my school community.
3. Capture the moment.
Yes, it is raining, and you’re outside with an umbrella walking students into the building! Take a picture, post, and caption it. You are working with a student to help them catch up on missing work. You are supporting your custodians by sweeping up in the cafeteria. Take a picture, post, and caption it!
What I have found is the little things make a big impact on your school community. Too often, we view it as bragging or focusing on us. But your caption would let them know that no job is too big or too small for you to support your students, staff, and school. Your school community will be able to share that their principal is willing to get out of the office and help them. Your parents will be able to share and show others what their school is all about.
4. Designate a photographer.
I am telling you to have your own entourage. We create impactful moments in our school and host major events. We have a school yearbook person, but that person often is not looking for those “refrigerator art” moments. Refrigerator art back in the day were those items I would bring home and my mother would put on the refrigerator to let me know she was proud of what I did or made. Nowadays, refrigerator art involves the moments that you post on social media and that others want to share on their own feeds.
You want to have a specific person during events that take pictures that you can post to let your school community know your story. The end goal is telling your story, which also shares your school’s story. Capture the moments and create your own highlight reel.
What are the important highlight reel moments that you share? Why do you think it is important to share the highlight reels of principals?