PMP188: COVID-19 Update, Principal Reboot, Finding Balance Continued

This week I had the privilege of capturing a few minutes with Chris Legleiter, Principal of Leawood Middle School, Blue Valley Schools, just outside Kansas City, Missouri. 

Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions

The state of Kansas has closed buildings for the rest of the school year, and like principals around the world, Chris is learning what it means to still connect with his teachers, students, and families while isolated during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the introduction to this week’s podcast episode, Chris shares how his school is responding to distance learning for their students. Listen for feedback, and think about how your service to students is matching the unique needs of your own school community.

Principal Reboot, Maintaining Balance Continued

Later in the show, Principal Jen Schwanke and I discuss finding balance, with thoughts inspired from her new book, The Principal Reboot: 8 Ways to Revitalize Your School Leadership. Here are some takeaways:

Where are you finding inspiration?

  • How can you stay inspired so that you can inspire others?
  • Jen shares a story on riding horses as a reminder of her own free, wild, delicious childhood. Her horse stories introduced her daughter to caring for a horse and passing on the inspiration.
  • What ways are you finding balance by doing things way outside professional world?
  • Think about things you loved as a child – how can you reconnect?
  • Take inspiration from the people involved in your world/process.
  • Consider activities like photography, fitness, music, dance, movies, books, coaching (athletics or otherwise), pets, animals…. whatever it is, pick one thing!

Let’s talk about health:

  • How can you eat right, sleep, and walk away from email/texts?
  • Learn how Jen loves “hot yoga”.
  • Discover Will’s love for running with his dog.
  • Understand not beating yourself up for missteps. Give yourself grace!
  • Purge and clean out…
  • Set limits of what others can take from you.
  • Learn to ask for help if needed.

Ask: what needs updated?

  • Re-imagine your actual workspace – understand how to make your place somewhere you want to be.
  • Update your resume in order to battle the “imposter” syndrome. 
  • Dust off your relationships, and embrace the concept of value added.
  • Learn Jen’s husband takeaway: ‘What value does this person bring?’

Let’s Wrap This Up

In their book, Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice, Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral share how educators must embrace the “Continuum of Self-Reflection” if to keep growing. These stages include:

  • Unaware Stage – recognizing we all have areas we don’t even know where we need to grow.
  • Conscious Stage – becoming aware of the process and learning happening in front of us.
  • Action Stage – taking steps based new knowledge and taking risks.
  • Refinement Stage – reflecting on what we’ve learned in order to tweak, then try again for improvement.

Life-long learners realize and repeat this cycle anytime you want to learn from an experience and improve. When you dig deeply into what you are learning from your experiences, you are better equipped to refine and, rinse, and repeat for all new learning opportunities.

Now It’s Your Turn

What new challenges are you experiencing right now? How can you reflect on lessons learned? What new actions can you take moving forward to refine your practice? What’s one area of balance above where you may need to refocus in the days ahead?

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker