“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
~Norman Vincent Peale~
When I am asked to describe myself (in interviews, etc) one word that comes up is ‘enthusiastic.’ I am one of those people who is always smiling and excited about the challenges ahead. When I asked a previous colleague of mine (who I am now good friends with) what they first thought of me, she replied that she really didn’t know what to think. She didn’t believe I could keep up the ‘charade’ of being so happy, smiley and proactive. However, after knowing me for so many years, realises that I really am that person.
I am a firm believer that teachers need to come into school, forget about everything that they have left at home, and give their all.
We are actors. Often the very best……if only the Academy Awards could see us in action! The school is our stage and the moment we walk through the front doors, everything else should fade into the background. So, when we are in front of the children, they get the best of us. Inevitably there will be things that drag us down or issues at home, but these need to be dealt with out of the eye of the children, behind closed doors.
I would say that enthusiasm is one of my strengths but I have also found it to be a weakness as well. My enthusiasm can scare people and put them off. I have, however, learnt over time, to monitor my enthusiasm – to think before I act. Like many other heads, I have lots of ideas of where I see the school heading, things that I want to initiate, changes I would like to see made. I have learnt to be patient. I have learnt to take my time. Enthusiasm should be infectious, so I have learnt to allow others the space and time to let it take hold……for the enthusiasm to build in them so they too are excited about the future.
We are constantly bombarded with new initiatives, resources, speakers, and activities to help engage, empower and inspire our children. Most of them can seem very exciting and new with the possibility that they could help to change learning. Therefore, a crucial lesson I have learned, is to question. To question everything, even those things that are expected. How will it work for our school? Even though it may be successful elsewhere, who is to say it will have the same impact here and now? As a leader it is important to take risks, but to ensure that those risks and their outcomes are focused upon the children and their learning. Sometimes the risk is to go with your heart, to go in the direction that you know is right.
I will continue to do everything in life with boundless enthusiasm…..an attitude of passion and curiosity is infectious. When a new ‘thing’ comes along, consider it and question it – understand its importance within your school….evaluate your vision and understand its place within it. Learn to be patient and watch things transform……….