On Thursday, May 12th, I took my son to one of his regular appointments with the child psychiatrist in Saskatoon as a follow up meeting to discuss how a change in his medication has been working. You see, my oldest boy has ADHD and what the doctor feels are some struggles with anxiety. This does not really surprise me because, as the saying goes, "the nut does not fall far from the tree". All my life I've struggled with anxiety, however during my teens and early 20's I did not know that, I just felt like there was something wrong with me. Unfortunately I decided to self medicate myself through alcohol, which as everyone knows is not the best medicine for someone's ailments! As the doctor and I talked, I found myself sharing some of my worries for my son about moving into a new class next year, he is going from grade 3 to 4. As I was talking I realized that everything I was saying had to do with my anxiety, not my son's. During this entire conversation my boy was sitting and listening, and after I caught myself, I thought, no wonder he's anxious, look at how I'm feeding it!
This caused me to reflect on how we feed our students or staff without even realizing it. Do you think your class or staff take on your persona to some extent? If you are a "control freak" how does that effect your staff's autonomy? If you are always anxious, does this have a residual effect on your teachers or students? If you are "happy-go-lucky" does this impact your school culture?
I'd have to argue that who you are has a great impact on your surroundings.
I've come to terms with my anxiety, and in fact I now am able to channel my feelings of worry and trepidation into actions. I have realized that my anxiety can and has made me a better educator and leader because I want to do what's right, and sometimes I worry that if I'm not thorough enough I will upset people. Of course, every sword has two edges (I think, I'm not a sword guy, I just like the saying) and I need to be aware that I cannot let my anxiety stand in my way or cause me physical harm.
I'm excited for a new opportunity that is coming my way as I finally will get to "take the training wheels off" as a person I admire once told me. I am going to be making the move from vice principal to principal and of course with that move comes my trusted friend anxiety. I can either let it stand in my way or feed my passion to be better at what I do. Today I choose to let it feed my ability and desire.
As always, comments are welcome.