Two Words I Stand For At My Standing Desk

Two Words I Stand For At My Standing Desk

How does a school leader know what staff and students need in order to continually improve?  Two words…be everywhere. Simple, right? Of course, this sounds simpler than it actually is. My goal each school day is to be in as many places as possible throughout the day, and I have made a couple choices that help me in this pursuit.

Like any other school leader, I have plenty of work to do in my office. It would be easy to settle in to a comfy chair and pound some of it out. To counter that possible roadblock, I have a standing desk. It is not because I want to burn more calories, although that is a nice side benefit! My standing desk helps by:

  • Making sure I am not comfy and cozy when I am in my office.
  • Keeping me in constant motion, which means I will be in more places throughout the school day.
  • Communicating a team culture with students, staff and parents because I do not sit across my desk from them. Instead, we pull up chairs to a table, which feels so much more like a team.

I spend much of my time doing observations and collaborating with teachers, and that gets me out and about for a good portion of each day. When I need to get email answered or other things completed, I have a mobile office that can be transported into any location…in the form of a laptop computer. I can work in any classroom, in the hallway, or even on the playground. Sometimes I work in the office, but in the main part of the office rather than back in my office. I may look like an odd duck, but it allows me to be a part of the heart and soul of the school even when working on my computer. Some of the benefits I have experienced are:

  • Watching how students interact in various situations. I watch them learn, move through the hall, play on the playground, and converse in the lunch room. This helps me understand our school culture, the character of our students, and how they feel about school and each other.
  • Serving teachers by knowing them and  knowing what and how students are learning. This enriches discussions I have with teachers and allows me to represent them well within the district, the ISD and the state.

I am in the second year of my current position, and I have to admit that I freaked teachers out a bit when I first started last year. They are used to my strange approach now, but a word of caution that it does take some time for them to get used to a leader attempting to be everywhere. I definitely am a work in progress and I am not yet everywhere. I appreciate the constant visual reminder of my standing desk as I model continuous improvement.


‘Twas Technology Class

‘Twas the night before…well, it was actually this morning…when my observation did feature
our spunky little technology teacher.

Much to my delight,
I stumbled upon a beautiful sight.

Fifth grade students were settling snug into a chair
When a wondrous excitement buzzed through the air.

On Chatterpix, on Google Slides, on iMovies and more,
The students were given choices to explore.

“Take a moment to dream about your final product before selecting your tool,”
Said the bouncy-haired technology teacher of the school.

In walked the students’ brawny classroom teacher with a bound,
And he set upon a mission to hand out artwork and explorer information as he walked around.

Original artwork! How merry!
They researched explorers in their own class, it wasn’t scary.

After directions, they got straight to their quest,
And with the wink of an eye, students gave it their best.

So one might ask: why technology? why choice? why student creation?
Anything’s possible when we use our imagination!

Just peek at the twinkling eyes that appear
When two teachers collaborate and learning became something all students cheer.

Thank you for sharing my beautiful sight…
Happy creating to all, and to all a good night!


My Infuriation with Education

My Infuriation with Education

“I have no idea what I want to be, but I know that I don’t want to be a teacher because I never want to step foot in a school again.”  –Allyson Apsey, age 18, upon graduating from high school

I really really did not like school.  I found it to be a chore to get through, and most of the time it drained energy out of me rather than inspiring a love of learning.  I never had a problem with learning, in fact, I really liked to learn.  I was always an avid reader, and I thank Danielle Steele’s Zoya for a B in my first college history class.  I love history and throughout my life I could often be found cuddling up with historical fiction, a good biography or autobiography.  It infuriates me that I did my best learning outside of the classroom—I spent seven hours a day surviving incredible boredom and cherished the few hours I would have in the evening to do my own learning.  Don’t even get me started on what I thought about homework.

When I graduated from high school, I felt a need to head to college, and I decided to pursue business for lack of knowing what else to do.  I attended a local community college, and that experience was much of the same.  My alarm would go off in the morning, and I determined if I was going to attend class or not based on whether there was a test that day.  My turning point came in the form of a class cancelation—my psychology class was cancelled and I needed to figure out another class to take that would fulfill that requirement and fit into my schedule.  The only class that fit the bill was Educational Psychology.

On the first day of class, the professor asked the students to raise their hands if they were pursuing a career in education.  I was the only student who didn’t raise her hand.  Regardless of why I was taking the class, I was required to do the same number of volunteer hours in a classroom as every other student.

I ended up volunteering in my aunt’s first grade classroom.  I walked in for my first experience, I felt very intimidated.  After a few minutes of interacting with the students, especially one snotty-faced curly-haired cutie pie, I was hooked.  I looked at their faces and felt a tremendous responsibility to do my best to make sure that their school experience inspired them, challenged them, and set the stage for a limitless future for each of them.  I realized that if I became a teacher, I could make sure that I would have one year to do that for them, and I decided I knew my fate and it was far from what I had pictured.

Ironically, I cannot think of any other place I would want to spend each day than at school.  I loved being a teacher and I love being a principal even more. The learning, problem-solving, and creativity inspires me to improve every day.   The biggest lesson my own K-12 school experience taught me is that we need to build relationships and inspire our students to learn and dig deeper than they ever thought they could.  We need to be innovative so we can figure out how to do this for every child in our school, our classroom.  When you take a look around your own school or classroom and see those snotty-faced cutie pies or surly teenagers, I bet you agree with me that our students deserve nothing less.