cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Bhope34
As I was moving offices within my building and had to pack up a few boxes (it is less every time I move with 99% of the things that I do being online and in the cloud), I found an old DVD that I created with a grade 6 class my first year with the division. In the project, the students were studying China so we decided to take each objective that we were supposed to learn, and a group of students made a 3-5 minute video using video and images to discuss and share what they learned on the project. As a classroom, we took each segment and made an hour long documentary on “China”, even using Chinese commercials for the breaks in between to make it look like an actual TV show. It was an awesome project but there were a lot of things that were put into place before something like that could happen.
All of that happened in my first year at Greystone Centennial Middle School as a Technology Integration Coordinator. When I was hired for the position, my very forward thinking principal was hiring for a “Middle Years Teacher”, not the position that it eventually became. As her admin team did interviews, they held conversations with each candidate to learn about them. As they learned about my skills and strengths, they saw something in me that could help fill some gaps within the school. They decided to hire me and created a position based on my strengths, not on simply a void that needed to be filled.
Instead of putting me into a place that I would feel comfortable, they did everything to ensure that I would be successful. That included taking my feedback on the schedule that was created for me to work with each classroom one block a week. I asked them if I could work with one class every two weeks and do project-based learning (I did not use the term at the time but that is what we did), giving students opportunity to create real meaningful learning and it really pushed my learning as well. I had a great year and because of that, I was hired by another school in the division as an Assistant Principal. In that role, my Principal asked me what I was strong at and we split the workload between my strengths and his strengths. I was really strong in working with students that had issues in the classroom, where I was weak with the documenting needed for developing individual program plans. It was not that I didn’t do things that I struggled with, but most of the job was tailored (again) to work to my strengths.
Currently, still with Parkland School Division as Division Principal, the job was tailored to my strengths and abilities. They looked at my resume and strengths and instead of trying to tailor me to the job, they tailored the job to me.
A couple of things that I have learned from this…It is always important to try to build upon the strengths of people and as Peter Drucker says, “It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.” The other thing that I have learned is that instead of always trying to focus on finding the right person for the job, it is much more important to try and find the “right person”. Being recognized for my strengths and having my bosses always trying to build upon them has taught me that I always have to try and do the same.
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