A couple of weeks ago, I was faced with an uncomfortable situation. A student came to me and claimed that a fellow teacher had yelled at him and used foul language. The student was visibly upset, and the incident had clearly affected him. I immediately reported the accusation to my principal, at which point he took over in deciding how to handle the situation. Even though I was part of the meetings and conversations that took place afterwards, I was not responsible for determining how to resolve this challenging situation.
That night, when I went home, I was talking with my husband about the incident. At the end of the conversation, I said, “Man, I would NOT want to be in his shoes. This is a tough one,” at which my husband responded with, “Well, Kadie, you may have to one day if you really want to be a leader in your building.”
Crap. He’s right.
I don’t know why I had removed myself from the situation so quickly. I was basically washing my hands of any responsibility in figuring out what happened, but rightly so, don’t you think? I mean, is it really my job to determine if this did in fact happen and if so, what the repercussions are? The teacher in me wants to say no, but the leader in me wants to say yes. If this situation is similar to what I may encounter as a leader, then I truly have to ask myself if I’m ready for this kind of decision-making responsibility. Some of you may be thinking, “Well, what did you expect?!?” but I guess it wasn’t until this moment that the light bulb went off over my head. I realized that I might be stepping into a world that I am not as familiar with as I thought.
As this idea began building up in my mind, I transitioned between several emotions – fear, anxiety, worry. I suddenly questioned my “why” – why am I doing this? Am I really ready for this kind of role? Making decisions like this are hard, they’re sticky, they’re not easy! But as the days started to unfold, I found myself forming opinions and actions steps in my head. They happened organically, without any hesitation. Whether or not I agreed or disagreed with how the administration was handling the situation, I was taking on that leadership role in my mind. I was playing out scenarios and conversations, and amidst all of this thinking and reflection, I found myself thinking I CAN do this. I’m not saying my way is the right way – Lord knows life is a journey filled with trial and error. It would be naive of me to think that I’m not going to fail along the way. But I was surprised how quickly my fear was replaced with confidence.
Maybe you have experienced something like this – a moment during your time at UofR earning your leadership degree where you wondered if you were ready for this jump. But we are! And I think if we all build on that confidence and keep telling ourselves that we CAN do this, then we’ll definitely end up where we want to be. We’re just not where we want to be yet (shout out to Carol Dweck).