The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Overcoming October

In our profession, few months feel better than August. New pencils, clean notebooks, and the notion of a new school year provide optimism. Conversations are filled with statements of “this year, I am going to” or “something I want to try is.” We focus with sharp intensity on the first lesson plans of the school year, our new professional goals, and the initiatives our school will be trying for the year. August is a great time to be in education.

In my experience, the biggest challenge to those feelings we have in August is October. In Michigan, our state procedures begin to show up early in the month with Student Count Day. Days later, standardized testing begins. The days begin to grow long, and many begin to settle back into their more comfortable routines of “what I always do.” More often than not, when we look back on our goals for the year that we set in August that we failed to achieve, October is where things started to break down.

Realizing this is a time of year when we start to slip off of our pace, let’s take some advice from Dan Hickey and “be intentional.”

  • Was your goal this year to be in classrooms and give feedback to teachers? Double your efforts right now. Get in more classrooms in October than you did in September.
  • Was your goal to have more positive contact with parents? Make two parents calls a day this month.
  • Was your goal to try something new? Commit to implementing something and ask a trusted colleague for feedback.
  • Take a look at your goals for the year and make a binder (digital or paper) to collect some artifacts on how you have done in meeting your objectives.
  • October is the time of year when our “August energy” starts to drain. Recognize it and refocus your efforts. Overcome October.


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    1. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading: Closing the Attitude Gap | The Principal's Principles

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