As a new assistant principal, it is so tempting to start sentences off with “well, in my last district…”
You are engaging in conversation with what you have experienced and that is okay! However, you want to avoid this statement at all costs! No one gives a flip about what you did in your last district. You’re in their house now. Rephrasing your words is vital to your integration into the new school.
Instead, try using different questioning strategies to offer your experience and knowledge. Here are a couple of examples:
Old you: “Well, in my last district we carved out 30 minutes during the day to offer MTSS support.”
New you: “When and how do you all offer MTSS support for kids?”
Old you: “At my old school, the instructional coach was an evaluator.”
New you: “How do we utilize our instructional coach(es) at this school?”
Old you: “In my previous district, we didn’t allow students to wear hats during the school day.”
New you: “What are the dress code policies for students in regard to headwear?”
You are taking the Ted Lasso approach of “be curious, not judgemental” to humbly understand your new school.
That isn’t to say your lived experiences are no longer valid or don’t count. You now have the opportunity to coach your new school towards improved policies and procedures. You just cannot tell them that they are missing the mark and that your old district did it better than they currently are.
It is tempting to tell your new coworkers how great your old school was doing something because you saw the positive impact it had on students and staff. In fact, you are going to feel frustrated that you can’t just “fix” the problem because you know of a better way. Fight the urge to overhaul, and find comfort in having the opportunity to help improve your new school through learning about where they are.
Until next time New School Leaders, go be great!
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