“Maybe we should have a weekly ‘what if’ session,” suggests my partner.
“I think we do that every day already.”
When I began my journey into administration, I knew I’d like the challenge. What I didn’t know is that I’d like the job immediately. Usually transitions are met with fears, uncertainties and falling flat on your face. I was expecting all of that. What I didn’t realize was how I would have two team members who not only supported me, but who welcomed new ideas, enjoyed solving problems and truly loved their chosen profession. I could not have gotten any luckier than to work with my principal and partner, my other assistant principal. And you really should be jealous. These two are what I like to refer to as my “what-if people.” I can come to them with anything, and they will not only hear me out, they will add to my ideas, and truly try and create solutions that are good for all students. Because of this incredible optimism, positive changes are happening at my school and even within me.
I have always loved working with people who are visionaries, who don’t scoff at new ideas, but try to make sense of them. This is one of the main reasons I was drawn to the CUE community. Hanging with CUE Lead Learners at events throughout the year fills my soul. I love how much I laugh and how much I learn just being near them. I joined the CapCUE board (my Sacramento affiliate) mostly to be in the same room, discussing, problem solving and laughing with smart and innovative people. This is my tribe. These are my what-if people.
So what exactly are what if people? These are people who don’t complain, but who are willing to hash out problems and look for solutions. Plus they do it with incredible optimism and open minds. These are the ones who are always seeking a better way for everyone, not just what is easier or what has always been done. They question. They ask why and follow that why with “What if..?”
What if we could have a system that engaged all students? What if we did away with detention? What if we gave teachers choices? What if programs worked for all kids? What if we listened to each other before we made decisions? What if…?
What ifs can be scary. It means entertaining change. But it also means each of us is heard and others are willing to facilitate the discussion. It signifies a willingness to improve systems, curriculum, pedagogy, relationships and more. It means each of us is willing to grow.
It is important to find your what-if people. Think about the people in whom you confide. Make sure a few of them are willing to listen and understand, not just quickly shoot down new ideas. Believe me. You will be happier and more fulfilled when you find one, two, or a whole gaggle of what-ifs. When we help each other grow, everyone wins. I am deeply thankful for all my what-ifs. Heck, I even married one.