A Time of ‘Lasts’

During the last few weeks before transitioning to a new appointment you have the opportunity to undertake things for the last time. The last staff meeting, the last report, the last breakfast gathering, the last Parent and Friends meeting, the last playground walk, the last assembly, and so forth.

Completing each final activity brings the reality of leaving a much loved school behind and as one does, it is an optimal time for reflection.  As a principal, the first part of reflection involves the professional, reviewing how successful your strategic plans have been, the impact upon the teaching and learning and the growth in teacher professional learning.

The second level of reflection focuses on the personal. When leaving, particularly after ten years of close working relationships, you development strong bonds with staff. Personally speaking, I am very grateful for the personal and professional relationships as they have helped to shape who I am today, my thinking, my views on issues and even influence my decision making. In a sense I am the sum of my relationships.

One of the positive things about beginning a new job is that it offers you the opportunity to apply your learnings in a new setting. While many people make excuses for not taking the time to reflect, citing busyness or lack of interest, the benefits, although not always immediate, are numerous.

In a funny sort of way doing things for the final time is in fact, preparing to do things for the first time.

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

2 thoughts on “A Time of ‘Lasts’”

  1. A great read Jake. Wise words as always. Self reflection is so vital and is something we should all do on a regular basis. Without reflecting on our experiences, relationships and reactions to situations, we are not fully allowing ourselves to be the best possible people we can be. I always implore my students to try to do this when they are at mass or saying a prayer or even just finding a quiet moment in their busy lives. Embrace this new journey and permeate your optimism into the lucky people who are about to meet you.

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