Monday, August 17, 2015

Sailing into a New School Year

Back to school week for staff….  I have found that whether or not I address teachers during this first week has a dramatic impact on how the rest of my year goes.  The years I do not have the opportunity to introduce myself and speak about my role in supporting theirs, I have fewer teacher requests.

I recognize that the minutes in the work week are precious, and there are many requirements that directors and principals must pack into a limited amount of time.  When I am allotted time, it typically is the slot that follows several must-be-presented bits of information, and it is slowly whittled down as each speaker before me runs over his/her time limit.  And, I usually present just before a break or lunch.

This year was no different.  The library’s slice of the week came on Day Two, following the German lawyer who shared data protection laws and was asked numerous what-if scenario questions as well as the Operations Manager who shared the changes in our fire drill procedures. The library presentation was left with the final five minutes before mid-morning break.  Teachers had been sitting for over a day, absorbing information.  To be heard, we had to be different.  So we were. And we finished at the top of the hour, right on time for break!

The idea for this presentation started with a bit of a vent to my fellow librarian, followed with a comment that telling her my woes was like preaching to the choir.  She said she gets it.  She’s on the same page.  She’s in my boat. And that’s when the little lightbulb over my head began to glow.  This little skit began as some scribbled notes last spring that I ruminated on over the summer.  Last week my kids helped me build the boat, and then we recruited two teachers. It's not flawless. We had only one shot.  But people are still talking about it. Both my own kids and several staff have suggested we tailor an encore performance for the first student assembly.  I guess that means we'll just keep paddling until everyone's on board!


  1. That was great, especially the "come aboard, we can help" part of it!

  2. That was really clever! Loved the "come aboard!" part as well!

  3. Phenomenal and inspiring! I am definitely sharing!

  4. Incredible. Did you practice before jumping in the boat?

  5. We came up with our key points together and kind of talked them through a couple of times. Then we printed "scripts" (basically just a list) and taped inside the boat to establish the order. We didn't want to cue our drowning victims too soon.

    Glad you liked it!