I’m sorry. Two words. They seem so easy to say. As educators we teach children every day how and when to apologize. But as adults, those two words become more and more difficult.
As a classroom teacher there were many times I had to apologize to my students. When I taught a lesson wrong, when I got upset and yelled, when I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. There were also times I had to apologize to parents for any number of reasons.
As a campus leader, apologizing for things is part of the job description.
I don’t mind apologizing. It isn’t always easy but I know it’s necessary. I know I make mistakes, so why wouldn’t I apologize when I do?
But being honest? I hate when I have to apologize a lot in a short amount of time. Because then I feel like I’m just failing one thing after another.
The last nine days have been full of apologizes leaving my mouth.
The funny thing about being a leader? Many times we have to apologize and bear the repercussions of decisions that weren’t made by us.
This week I had to fall on my sword. I had to apologize for something, I had nothing to do with. BUT it was something that came from the campus I am the leader of. And in the end, all of that does fall on me.
It was a moment of swallowing my pride. It was a moment of putting myself and my emotions on the back burner. But it was a moment of me seeing the bigger picture, and understanding that a leader will take the hit for the betterment of this team. And you know what? The craziest thing happened. At a concert event later in the week, a parent came up to me and said “thank you for sending out that apology letter to all the parents. You don’t know how refreshing it is to know that someone in a leadership position will actually accept blame AND apologize”,
Then I spent days apologize for poor decisions I made. Or last minute changes I had to make. Or areas where I dropped the ball in keeping the lines of communication as open as they should have been.
And it wasn’t just at work. I was also apologizing to friends and family. I was apologizing for getting upset. Apologizing for allowing my sarcasm to overflow. For speaking before I chose to stop and think.
Apology after apology. These last 9 days have been full of them.
And in the end I have no real excuse. I made poor choices. But I’m also a learner. I’m an evaluator. I know to take the mistakes and learn from them. To try and not make them again.
And in a moment of weakness, when I’m down on myself and doubting, I stop and remember that we all make mistakes. We all have those weeks where we feel like we are doing more things wrong then we are right.
As a leader, I want to be the best. As a teacher, I want to be the best. I want to reflect strength, compassion, patience, thoughtfulness, empathy, creativity.
Mistakes are a part of life. But so is sensing when you’ve made a mistake, owning it, and apologizing. And meaning it. It isn’t always easy, you don’t always feel like it, but as an adult who is being watched by little eyes and little ears, we have to set the example. We have to do what’s right, even when it’s hard and even when it hurts.
I’m sorry. Two words. But those two words can make all the difference.