July 27, 2016

What successful people know...

Take a minute to look at the image below.

I cannot take credit for the actual idea. I stole it from somewhere (cannot remember where??). The concept is simple...

Many people think that everything we do results in one of two outcomes: Success or Failure.

In reality, what happens in many cases is we have to fail several times to figure out whether or not what we are doing works or is even successful. I am guilty of struggling with this and I am sure I am not alone. As leaders, educators, business folks, lawyers, police...let's just say professionals, we have to take this into consideration.

We have to ask ourselves these questions.

Are we creating a culture where the second image is even possible? 

Are people afraid of what will happen when they fail the first time, so much so that once they fail, there is not a second time?

Are we too competitive to not get it right the first time?

What causes people to be afraid to fail OR to be afraid to allow someone to fail on their watch?

Is it appropriate in all fields?

All legitimate questions worthy of your feedback, that means let me know what you think...send me a tweet.   @mickshuran


July 13, 2016

The Ride Along

I have many titles and names that I am proud of (and some I'm not). But those included that make me proud...

Called and Ordained Principal (given to me by my Pastor)

And now...Deputy Principal! True story, here was my ride...

The weekend of July 4th, I had the opportunity to ride along with friend who also happens to be Lt. Detective Jason Kennedy with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

He even went out of character and wore his uniform so I could ride along (you may not know but detectives usually wear shirts and ties or something similar). Here is the proof...

Although I did not personally get to pull people over, shoot a gun, or perform a field sobriety test (did witness a couple). I did learn a great deal on my ride along. Here are a few things.

1. Our police, whether city or county, state or federal, work their tails off regularly.
Jason and I talked about his shifts, his duties and all things police related. Because I know Jason, I know for a fact that many times he gets called into work in the wee hours of the morning. His work cannot wait until normal business hours. I also found out that the deputies will typically work 12 hour shifts and in many cases, difficult shifts. Many will even take on other duties to earn extra money to help pay the bills. Like educators, the police are vastly underpaid but still go at it everyday.

2. They look after each other.
Numerous times, I witnessed Jason pull over to a location where another officer was located. This was not to catch up on old times but simply a reminder "hey, I got your back." They all look after each other. It truly is a brotherhood/sisterhood...or a family to be exact.

3. Our safety is in their best interest.
There are bad apples in EVERY occupation. There are bad doctors, bad teachers, bad cops, bad preachers...However, these folks are there to Serve and Protect. The police have a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders and the officers I met that night know it. It is serious business and it is treated as such.

4. Stress is part of the job.
Although we did not have any seemingly dangerous situations that night, I know they have them. There are some crazy and dangerous people out there. Heck, just the number of folks who were being field sobriety tested for DUI was shocking to me. I know Jason's and his colleague's jobs do not end when the shift does. What they did that shift stays with them. If it was an especially difficult day, it is hard for them to go home to families and act like nothing is wrong. Essentially, the family feels the stress as well.

5. What we do (educators) and what they do is really not that different.
It may just be easier to list the similarities:

Long hours
Not doing it for the money
Work almost always goes home with them
Both work with people they may not like (but give them the same attention as everyone else)
Both see the negative impacts of drugs, alcohol, crime etc.
There are positives every day that keep them going
Public servants
Community leaders
Role Models

...and plenty more.

I have always been a law enforcement supporter, now more than ever. I have friends who are in law enforcement and I worry about their safety but also know that they are in it, not just for me and my family but EVERY citizen. I thank Jason and the Bedford County Sheriff's Office for my opportunity. It truly was an educational experience.

Oh, by the way, in case you needed more proof of my new title, here you go.


July 8, 2016

The Educator and Summer Break

As educators most of us have a little time off in the summer. Typically that time varies dependent on the position. Even those folks who still have to work, do get some quiet time because the halls are empty and that is sometimes like a vacation too.

Despite what others think, educator's summer times aren't all margaritas and sunshine. Work still has to be done. There are still the occasional meetings, the summer trainings, plus the overall preparation for the classroom, school or school year.

Even if we are not attending anything, we are thinking about it. Like many fields, education is always on our minds.

During this "time off," what should we be thinking about, what should be our focus?

I have some suggestions that will help prepare you for that upcoming school year.

1. Review your personal and professional goals.
These are your long-term and short-term goals. We all have things we want to do but sometimes putting them on paper makes them more achievable. You should review them regularly to see if they still fit your agenda. Heck, you can put them in a frame and keep them by your desk as a reminder. Over time, if you see a goal changes for you...CHANGE IT!

2. Choose something you will focus on and spend the whole year honing that craft.
We all have evaluations and we all have those areas we know we could get better. It might be technology or RTI or even our own organization. Whatever it is, identify it and target it. Then spend the entire year trying to get better at it. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

3. Completely clear your space (even change it).
Clutter can be the killer of creativity. To some it helps but not me. I find myself spending time trying to "straighten" things which is more time I am not focused on my improvement. Some thrive in clutter, if you are one of those...congrats! Here is a book I have been reading that helps putting things in perspective.

4. Choose one word that defines you for the entire school year.
Jon Gordon has a book called One Word. It is pretty simple, instead of lengthy goals and resolutions, he says we should simply choose one word that defines us. He does a heck of a better job explaining it that me, so check out what Jon Gordon says.

5. Start (and keep) a journal.
This is a good one and I am terrible at it! BUT, I will get better at this year. There are benefits to writing things down each day. Whether you write about successes, failures or even a good article you read, it does not matter it is yours. It does not have to be of the "Dear Diary" variety. In fact, many of the journals I have seen contain mostly pictures. Do whatever works for you but do it consistently. It is a great tool for reflection. Go get you a mole skin, or Field Notes, or even Post It Notes and start "collecting YOUR data."