Embracing the Struggle

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embraceSynchronicity sent me a message about struggling the other day. First, I was browsing aimlessly researching some ideas on Pinterest when twice I came upon successory-type photos with the same pithy saying on them: Embrace the Struggle. (I love those pithy saying photos.) Then, as I was reading through my Bloglovin’ feed, I ran across a blog posting about embracing the struggle. Finally, as I was reviewing some of my notes from our most recent visit by Janis Freckmann (an amazing math consultant), one of the main points she drove home was for our teachers to allow their students to embrace their struggles when solving problems.

As I think back over the past eight months  – which were my first eight months as an elementary associate principal at ASD – I can identify some struggles that I am still struggling with. For example, I struggle with:

  • Wanting more hours in my days
  • Wishing that I could spend more time in the classrooms and other spaces where children are learning
  • Not yet having the institutional knowledge that I would like to have
  • Wanting to get to know faculty and staff on a more personal level
  • Needing a crystal ball to help inform the many decisions that I make every day

Usually, when I face a problem I want to immediately find a solution and fix it. That’s just how I am. But what if I tried things a bit differently? What if I embraced my struggles and leaned into them rather than trying to quickly solve them? What if I:

  • Accept that I can do what I can do in the time I have. That means I have to prioritize, be willing to delegate, and come to the realization that not everything can be done immediately.
  • Actually schedule time in my calendar to go into classrooms. I could mark off as much time as possible – every day – even if it’s only 30 minutes.
  • Spend more time chatting with our faculty and staff to hear their stories about ASD and Dubai. They have the best stories not only from back in the day, but also from just a couple of years ago. And it’s all so interesting!
  • Spend more time chatting with our faculty and staff about themselves! I have yet to meet an international educator who doesn’t have an amazing story.
  • Trust that I am making the best decisions that I can based upon as much information as I can gather. As long as I keep my true north bearing – which is focusing on what’s best for the students first and foremost – everything else should will fall into place. Right?

I guess that not only should I embrace the struggle, but I also need to trust the struggle.

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