It Starts Here!

(Great slide by Angela Maiers)

As I begin the journey back to Pennsylvania after an unbelievable weekend of connecting with inspiring leaders a challenge was presented to all of the attendees by Jimmy .Casas (@casas_jimmy) during the closing moments of the conference. It was one of the three goals of the conference and it was to allow yourself to become more vulnerable. I am taking that challenge stepping out of comfort zone and writing my first official blog during the ride back to the airport. It is great because as I am writing this I already have my second post already spinning in my head. I also want to thank George Couros (@gcouros), who was another great presenter this past weekend for taking the time to talk blogs with me and even offering to look at this post for me to provide feedback. On a side note, that was one of the greatest parts of this conference that separates it from any other conference I have gone to. All the presenters were more than willing to just sit and talk, offer advice, and provide feedback.
For my initial blog post, I will simply share how my biggest WOW moment of the conference was realizing that as a school leader, to impact students, impact staff, impact change, and to be great, you need to embrace vulnerability. Before this weekend vulnerability meant something completely different and it wasn’t something I wanted to show. I can say this has been true of every building in which I have held a position as a school leader. After a weekend with truly great educators, my outlook and my vision of what a great educator is has evolved. Prior to this weekend I would maybe have described vulnerability as weakness. I thought it meant opening yourself up and allowing others to see personal things about you. This would then allow them to judge you and that then diminishing the impact on how you are able to lead. WOW, was I off. To be a great leader you do need be vulnerable, you need to be able to step outside your comfort zone and allow those you work with to learn about you on a personal level in order to rise to greatness. Is it possible to be a good leader and not be vulnerable? I suppose that is possible. However, if greatness is what you want and we should all want to be great, then personal vulnerability must be a characteristic that you demonstrate.
So what does that mean to be vulnerable in my own world? If I think back to my own experiences and in the feedback that I’ve gotten from other teachers, I feel I need to share more about me as the person and not just the surface stuff. It is actually funny because I feel like on social media I share much more of my personal beliefs than I do when having discussions with staff members. I guess it stems from the fact that I don’t want to offend anybody or put anybody off by my own beliefs about education. The big takeaway of the weekend is I just can’t be a connected educator online I need to be connected with my staff in person, face-to-face. I need to share more of me as the person for them to truly understand me and know that I really do care about them as a person and them as the teacher. Bringing that social connection face-to-face and allowing a certain amount of vulnerability will help guide me down the path of being a great educator who does things differently. as part of your personality that allows you to lead As I continue this new journey in blogging and also allowing myself to become more vulnerable as it pertains to allowing my staff and fellow educators to truly see who I am I feel a great deal of excitement as I was able to see over the weekend what greatness is and how it impacts those that are in the presence of it. I hope that my own reflections and analysis will someday have an impact on someone else as I know the impact that the great educators I was able to learn and connect from had on my own growth. I also hope that you will join me as I begin my own personal journey through blogging to highlight the great stories, great connections and great learnings that I will experience in our world of educating students.

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