Today I walked into the building with a sense of potential dread. I had been in our school many times over the summer working on several projects for my MSA. Having walked through the halls, having seen the classrooms during and as the crews finished up the major construction projects in the building, I fully expected most of our teachers to all but explode. They would be stressed, frustrated, angry, and it would create a seriously negative environment on day one.
Instead, we started our day with a short professional development session on stress management. Most people walked in saying, “stress management would be not being here right now” or other comments similar. While the discussion was alright, the end is what I saw as a stroke of genius.
Anticipating the problems that can cause major disasters in a school is an important skills for any leader, figuring out how to diffuse those bombs is even more challenging. Today after our first session, sign up sheets were passed around for free 10 minute chair massages. No, this did not make our problems go away, but instead of talking about how awful everything was, we were talking about how great our massages were throughout the day. It was such a great move, I am still talking about it now!
While I would love to think the answer to every question is a massage, I know that is not actually going to solve our problem of getting ready in a VERY short time. As I learn to see things from an administrative perspective, I see this as an incredibly wise decision. It doesn’t fix it all, but it shifted the way we were thinking during the day. Instead of a potentially negative disaster, the day was productive and relatively positive. For at least one day, stress was calmed, and we almost all stayed positive!