Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember to Breathe....

As a new Principal, I am going to try and reflect every week or so on the experiences I have enjoyed as I continue to learn on the job.  The first couple of weeks have been bumpy and challenging, but at the same time exhilarating, exciting and enjoyable.

Every year start-up seems to be frenetic as we get things settled in.  This year is especially challenging since I am new to this role and there exist some complicating factors including; Phase 1 of BC teacher job action, our office staff losing its head secretary to retirement, our day custodian having to take an extended leave, our senior afternoon custodian also retiring and our brand new Administrative team learning the structures of the school, meeting the staff and assuming new roles.  It has been a little harried to say the least.

As in every year start up, counsellors are working frantically with students to adjust timetables and balance classes.  We attempt to prepare for the upcoming Grade 8 retreat (a 3 day camp in Cultus Lake's Camp Stillwood), we have begun our Bill 33 preparations, and we continue to rework the timetable to serve our ever-expanding ESL population.  To the students, thank you for your patience and understanding, and I remind you to slow down and enjoy time with your family and friends and allow the staff at school to work to get you all the things you need.  We do have your best interests at heart, and will do all that we can to give you what you have asked for.

Despite being busy and feeling a little overwhelmed at times, the first couple of weeks have gone quite well and I am now starting to find my feet.  I do, however, need to remind myself of the same things I have asked the students to remember.  In a conversation with my wife this weekend and recounting several of the issues we have faced in the first week with students, I found myself speaking incredibly fast, and she told me that I seemed more "wound up" than normal.  She was right, and I think many of my conversations with people in this first week have been a little too high-paced.  I need to slow down, listen and remember that "this, too, shall pass".  The staff at Burnett is extremely professional, caring and hard-working, and they will do all that needs to be done to support the students in our care.  I need to be able to listen to them and provide them the supports to do their jobs properly.  This needs to be done on all levels, including staff working with students and each other, and students working with their peers, their teachers and their counsellors.
I can not thank the people around me enough for their patience, support and hard work.  There are too many to list, but you know who you are...  Within the next week or so, most things should be resolved and the normal pace of life in high-school should resume.  In the meantime, take care of yourselves, slow down, and for all of us (especially me)...Remember to breathe!

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