Breaking Down Walls

So this post may seem a little split brained, but I’m gonna try and bring it all together!

Well, one of the things I mentioned when Navasota ISD was interviewing me for this principal job, was that I wanted to still work hand in hand with kids and find ways to teach.  I didn’t want to be stuck in my office all day.  They told me it was possible, and I believed them.

This week I got to do just that!  On Thursday or Friday of last week I sent out a Google Spreadsheet to all of my teachers and told them that if they wanted me to teach a math lesson they could go on the Google Spreadsheet, pick a date and time, and tell me what math standard I would be teaching, and I would come in and teach it.

For the last two days, I’ve taught a total of NINE 45 minute lessons!  First of all it was sooooo much fun and such a thrill to be back teaching in front of kids.  And second of all it allowed me to share some of my joy of teaching with my team.  I loved every second of it and can’t wait to continue it throughout the year.  Plus I think it was really great for the students to see their principal teaching them a lesson.  I can tell you one thing, the students at our school sure aren’t seeing your typical “I’m in trouble and have to go see the Principal” type of principal, and I LOVE that!

Then last night we did something I’m still reeling from.

About a month ago, I had an idea.  I wanted to reach our parents and families on a totally different level.  When you teach in a high poverty area, there tends to be an underlying distrust of the education system.  I wanted to address that.

Instead of inviting parents up for a night of learning, or to just come to the school and eat something and meet teachers, I wanted to go where they were.  I wanted to reach parents on their turf.

So I met with the Jr. High principal and asked him and his school to partner with us.  He agreed immediately.

So last night we went to a local apartment complex, and for two hours we did nothing but cook and hand out free hot dogs, chips, and drinks.  We didn’t pass out pamphlets.  We didn’t share reading strategies.  We didn’t tell the parents to help with homework.  All we did was love on them.

We wanted to remind them that our schools are more than just a “factory”.  We wanted to remind them that they are deeply cared about.  That they matter to us.

We had a HUGE crowd attend.  It was very emotionally overwhelming.  The response from the families was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  And when I think of some of the walls that were torn down, that’s what’s most exciting to me.

But you see, it doesn’t stop here.  Every other month we’re going to visit another apartment complex and cook for them.  Just to continually show them how important they are.

So how do the two topics in the post tie together?  I think it’s in the fact that, in education, we need to continue thinking differently.  We need to challenge the way things have always been done.  Can a Principal teach lessons?  HECK YES!  And they SHOULD be.  Can a community come together and instigate real change?  YES!  Reach them where they are.

I encourage you today to find ways to work with kids and touch lives that you’ve never tried before.  Some will fail, but even more will succeed.  And if even one life was changed, it was worth every blood, sweat, money, and tears.

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