05 November 2016

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Band-Aid

In Jaws, there comes a moment while hunting for the shark that Roy Scheider's character realizes that they're going to need a bigger boat. The problem---the great white shark---is far larger than they'd realized. In the movie, it the first time we glimpse the shark, too. The size of the (pseudo) animal makes the audience nervous, too. We realize that the captain's bravado isn't going to be enough to seal the deal...and we feel rather small in that boat on the big ocean.

The title of this post came from some words I found myself saying recently at a meeting. We have a lot of big changes ahead for our district. Plenty of construction is happening, thanks to a bond passed by the voters. Next year, sixth graders will begin attending our middle schools---meaning our elementary schools will be losing staff and reconfiguring schedules, and our middle schools will be gaining staff and have 2/3 of their student populations new to their buildings. The money from a recent technology levy has made for some wonderful additions for staff and stuff. We have new leadership, which brings its own new ideas to the mix.

All of these sea changes have been planned, of course. We've made choices---from the voters, to the school board, to the administrators, to parents. But as we steer this ship to our new beginnings, other temptations arise. As long as we're making these changes, why not make a few others we've been wanting to take on, but too afraid to initiate? Why not just "rip the band-aid off" on x while we're already doing something different with y? I realized after a bit that we are, indeed, going to need a bigger band-aid...or suffer a death by a thousand little cuts.

I've pondered change a lot over the years on Ye Olde Blog...enough posts that I even made a tag for it. I don't know that I'm any better now at understanding how to manage it vs when I started thinking about it. There have been a few points in my personal life where I discovered it was better to rip off a giant band-aid...to let everything fall apart and then pick up the pieces I wanted to keep and move on. That path was better than trying to duct tape things together and convince myself it was all right. Sometimes it isn't all right...and that's okay. But that's just me. What happens when we talk about a whole school? Is it all right to just throw in all of the changes at once and see what grows from the rubble? Do we take baby steps or do we jump in the deep end...and how do we know which of those to do in which situations?

The sea changes involving my own job are calming down, at long last. It's been a difficult few months and I've learned a lot about patience and letting go of some expectations in favour of others. I'm learning new things about resilience as it applies to my own role and how to develop it in the ones I work with. I'm hopeful that I can continue learn and advise others on finding the right-sized approach instead of always looking to the bigger one.

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