On Thursday of last week we held our Leadership Team meeting for all administrators in Worthington. We met from 8:00 A.M. until 4:30 P.M. beginning to plan for the 2013-2014 school year. Topics included teacher evaluation, principal evaluation, school safety, the new state report cards, online fee payments, eliminating paper emergency medical cards, building improvement plans, etc, etc…. It was a full day of intense planning, discussion and debate. These days can be difficult, but they make us better.
In an effort to break the day up for our administrators we decided that we would eat a quick lunch on site and then spend some of our lunch time on a competition between communities of practice groups. (All of our principals are organized into one of four communities of practice groups that meet regularly for professional development.) These groups would compete against one another to determine which COPS group was definitively the “best.”
Within a 45 minute lunch break our administrators would compete in a corn hole tournament, a pie eating contest, a puzzle contest and a trivia contest. Each COPS member would participate in at least one event and points would be kept to determine a winner. (I was in the pie eating contest, and although I gave it 110% I felt the agony of defeat, losing not only to Jeff Maddox and Tom Forsgren, but even to Brenda Toler. Click on the video below for full effect.) Our administrators are competitive and soon everyone was engaged in the competition. By a close margin team Maddox (pictured above) edged out team Hamilton for the title of “best.” My team, team Wene, finished in a close race for last.
These few minutes over lunch reminded me of something I’ve said to our administrators over the years and, unfortunately, have recently forgotten myself – “we work for Worthington Schools, we’re in the kid business, we’re supposed to have fun, and if we’re not something’s not right”.
Yet when our vision is to accomplish something personally and organizationally significant for students and for the community, it almost always requires discipline, focus and lots of resources. And all of these things can squeeze out the space in our work to do something just for fun. Yet it’s in having fun that really good and unexpected things can happen, most of which, somehow and some way, moves us forward in fulfilling our vision and goals.
Such surprises include the opportunity to build into key relationships, hearing first hand from our students and parents, learning something new, or gaining a new perspective about our work, organization or life. Often one of the best things is we gain a new appreciation for our job and the people we get to do it with.
And frankly, it’s this last surprise that caused me, as I drove home Thursday evening, to give thanks for the privilege I have to do what I do and for the opportunity to do it with people I really like.