Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.
Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.
I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.
I speak and write a LOT about the need for change in public education — necessary change because we haven’t yet met every child’s potential. That might be an unreachable target, but it doesn’t mean we should give up trying to be better than we are today.
I’m not naive to the notion that my desire for change might leave a perception of ‘doom and gloom’ about public education — that we aren’t doing anything correct at the moment.
And that’s simply not true.
I am proud of many things that we are currently doing in our schools, primarily due to the efforts from our teachers and administrators — true innovators in our system.
Being an administrator in the public education system has meant that I’ve had a few conversations with people where the content was difficult for me to share and, in most cases, even more difficult for the other person to hear.
Some examples …
Meeting with a student who has not achieved to their potential;
Conversing with parents about their child’s struggles;
Debriefing with a staff member who was not successful in an interview;
Sharing the tragic news of a student or staff member who has died. Unfortunately, I’ve had to do this a few times in my career.