The Principal's Principles

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

Who is going to stop me?

As the new school year gets set to begin, educators are headed back to their classrooms and offices and getting prepared for the students who will soon arrive. Many of these teachers and administrators bring with them a new idea for the year they have been thinking about during their time off. In some cases, these ideas have been on the minds of these people for years, but have not moved from idea to implementation.

As you sit down and begin to consider your new idea, I’d encourage you to reframe your thinking just a bit. Instead of saying to yourself, “who should I ask permission,” ask yourself “who will stop me from implementing this idea?”

I have seen too many good ideas fail to get off the ground because of the perceived notion of a need to ask for permission, or the vague fear of “they won’t let me.”

Changing the question to “who will stop me” still causes innovators to pause and think through their plans. It still calls for reflection on whether or not the idea fits into the overall policy and vision of the place you are working. However, those reflections come from a place of empowerment, not one of fear. “Who will stop me” is not a question of defiance, rather, it’s a clear look at what roadblocks exist to implementing your new idea.

If you want to start texting reminders to your students about big projects and worry “they won’t let me,” instead ask yourself “who will stop me?” Think through the challenges and logistics to your plan and move forward.

If you want to stop giving homework, or eliminate outdated practices such as zeroes or half credit if a submission is a day late, stop worry about “them” and start thinking through how to overcome the challenges and plan the logistics to move your plan forward.

You are a professional, you know your classroom, your content, and you will know your learners. Exercise your judgement, get started and move from idea to implemented.

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