Worrying about when things might go south (or dramatically wrong) is probably not the best way to live your life...until it happens and you realize a plan would be helpful.
So, what should a leader do when the bottom falls out?! As in needing to shift to distance learning again...or hybrid learning...or a more traditional model that's somehow orchestrated within the context of a global pandemic?
What's a leader to do when our foundational understanding is changing so swiftly and dramatically that it feels as though we've lost our footing?
The work can shift. Jobs change. Conditions evolve. New priorities can emerge...they always do. However, our "why" and the work we're called to do often transcends change.
I recently had the chance to talk about this topic with a university graduate program that's using my latest book, Reclaiming Our Calling, as a text for one of their courses. During our time together, we talked about the importance of trying to live out our "why" and calling in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in...and not necessarily looking at our circumstances or job as the "why" itself.
This line of thinking has served as a momentum builder for me in a time where momentum feels like a rare commodity. I'm more motivated than ever to help students and the educators serving them find their momentum and thrive in these uncertain times.
So, when the bottom falls out my advice is to reconnect with the mission. For me, this means that in addition to prioritizing the health, safety, and welfare of everyone in our schools, I keep going back to a quote from Reclaiming Our Calling: "The single greatest tool to optimize a student's options in life is an educator's drive to teach the whole learner."
When the bottom falls out, your "why" gives traction to the work ahead. It is the footing in times of change and will serve you well wherever you go.
If you find yourself floundering (like we all have been to a certain degree due to COVID-19) lean into the mission and your "why." The things you're feeling called to do probably matter more now than ever.
If this blog post resonated, you might like my newest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. The book tackles a tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness.