Over the holiday break, my Twitter feed blew up with superintendents everywhere tweeting out the latest Newsweek article about the “Great Exodus” of superintendents from public education. Why? Because they know it and they feel it: To their very core.
Then, on New Year’s Day, they woke up to more news about the latest virus variant and how schools might be impacted … again.
There’s just no quit to anything lately and there will not be for a while. We all know that. So while there is no remedy, there are two things you can do to keep yourself and everyone around you functioning at their best.
- Educators give their all. But if you are going to weather the relentless changes and crises, then you need to start giving your own well-being more priority. Or, said another way, stop putting yourself last.
It’s simple: You cannot be at your best if you constantly put yourself last. In 2021 (which now seems like eons ago) AASA President Paul Imhoff addressed this very topic with school superintendents. What’s one thing he did? He allowed himself to take a 30-minute, zero-interruption lunch every day. Think you can do that? It’s going to be hard but you need to do something that provides you with mental space.
Here’s what another superintendent told me about how he handled it when his school board wanted more of his weeknights and evenings: He showed the board his entire calendar. He pointed out the chunks (evenings and weekends) where he needed time to rest and recharge. In retelling the event to me, he said, “I needed the board to understand that my rest and recharge time is just as important as my work time. And if I am to be at my best at work then this is what I need.” Immediately, he found that this brought greater understanding to the board and they became a part of solving these different needs going forward.
- Your administrative team, teachers and staff also need to carve out protected time.
Self-care is not going away and schools are on the frontlines of so much right now – and of things that they did not go to school to learn about, either. Encourage those around you to find their own time, yes, but mental space, too. In taking care of ourselves a bit more, we are better positioned to take care of others.
Take care of yourself and let our Allerton Hill team know how we can support you along the way.