Weirdness isn’t weakness! It’s a way to celebrate the unique ways we can engage our school community by any means possible.
We try so hard in leadership positions to be what we think others want us to be, remembering the many, many leadership ‘characteristics’ that are apparently so vital for success. We read, try to imitate, fail, and then go back to reading more to find the ‘answer’ to how we should be.
What if it’s ok to just be yourself? Really. To…just…be…you. You know, the real you, awkward, goofy, and genuine.
As two principals from across the country connecting and reflecting, we realize that it’s ok to be different! It’s ok to be weird! In fact, being weird lets you have a lot more fun and it actually works for your students, staff, and community!
A vital aspect of leadership is being genuine. In order to be genuine, you have to be yourself. We’ve developed better relationships with our communities, students, and staff once we let go of what we thought a principal was supposed to be and just decided to be ourselves, weird as we are!
Weird Principal Moment – Andy
Recently my Assistant Principal and I decided to prove a point with our teachers that every day we can and should try to make special moments for our students. We were inspired by parents, even when exhausted and have a million other things to do, moving their Elf on the Shelf every night. Every morning they wanted their kids to wake up and see it in some funny situation, have a special moment, and laugh. We should think of our school days in the same way. What special moment and surprise can we offer our students when they arrive to school every day? How we can we create a sense of wonder and excitement to the normal routine? Do this and you will have them running in the door, curious, and looking forward to the day in school! (But it really was weird to see a 6’3″ dude wearing an elf outfit and creepy smile strolling through the halls…)
Weird Principal Moment – Jessica
I recently gave a fairly important interview in regards to the impact of Professional Learning Communities in our school…. while wearing SPAM® Pajamas.
Who we are and how we lead is such a huge part of setting the culture for our staff and students. Trying something new or different should be the norm in our schools, not the exception. Our weirdness is a new a way to model risk-taking and failing forward…while occasionally having fun along the way.
We are admittedly….weird. We lead to the beat of a drummer no one else hears. Our own families shake their heads at times when we walk out the door in the am. We rarely get looks anymore with our antics as the teachers and staff around us have learned our ‘normal’.
Our weirdness, well it works. Kids are smiling at the ways in which we work to engage them and get them to start their day with a smile. Parents are more comfortable with our ‘un-formalness’ at times as it shows the human side leaders are afraid to share.
We recognize we don’t look the part of the traditional principal, but we also know that isn’t what our school needs from us. They need someone to take risks, lead by example, and by all means possible give 110% every day.
The Weird Principals series is our way of celebrating unique leadership strategies that not only work, but create magical moments for our students, community, and staff. We hope we can show other leaders that you really can let go and be yourself, weirdness and all!
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