I sent my last tweet of the night, "@ToddWhitaker is speaking in Okla tomorrow-Not for sure if I'm more excited about tomorrow or the next day when I put his wisdom into action.”
The next day, I anxiously drove 1 hour and 15 minutes to attend the much anticipated conference. At the first break, Dr. Whitaker had spotted me in the crowd of no less than 300 educators. Wow, we had never met, only a thumbnail picture on twitter. Pretty impressive! He simply walked over and asked, “Are you my twitter friend?”
The next 10 minutes was compelling to say the least. He asked me how I would respond to three authentic scenarios in which I answered incorrectly to all three. I realized for the first time that I had been causing discomfort to the wrong teachers. Dr. Whitaker explained to me that effective principals continually ask themselves who is most comfortable and who is least comfortable with each decision they make. I quickly thought of several instances in which I had created an uncomfortable situation for the wrong teachers.
I left the conference with a heavy heart and truly drove 30 mph all the way home. I had a lot on my mind. That night, I re-read my notes that I had recorded during the presentation. My disheartened feeling had now matured into a feeling of relief and comfort. I knew from this day forward, I would not make this mistake again.
The next day, I explained to Dr. Whitaker that I would use this disheartened feeling to drive me to change. Coincidentally, this is a perfect example of what Dr. Whitaker expresses in his book, What Great Principals Do Differently, “When people become uncomfortable, they change.”
@DMS_Principal Do not beat yourself up. Hindsight is 20-20. Just do the right thing from now on – Todd Whitaker
Thank you Dr. Whitaker for your genuine and honest feedback and for causing me such discomfort.