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  • HeatherJoy Bagnall

Listen To Your Teachers

As a leader, any day lessons are those we file in our hearts and minds. Some are mistakes we can watch for. Some are joyous moments we can look forward to.


I am on a journey of a doctoral nature. With that in mind, I accepted a new position and gave several weeks notice to my administration. The agony of building relationships with students for the first six weeks of school knowing that I was leaving my darlings made my heart hurt and my eyes water.


I set up my classroom for an incoming teacher I did not know. A basic set up and a note on the board for my students that said, "You Are Loved" written one letter per blue or purple colored paper heart balloon. Each balloon with a tidy white yarn string neatly hanging down from each balloon and collected into as perfect of a knot as I could make. As I was packing my room and several years of privately purchased instruments and curriculum, I decided I did not want to leave. I sat for some time on the colorful carpet and realized I may not be ready for the world beyond the classroom. Perhaps I was not ready for a leadership position. Perhaps I didn't want to sell my house and move. Perhaps being a teacher-leader was enough. As exhausting as concert seasons are, what would I do if not preparing plays, songs, bands, and choruses? What would I do in my new position that was even close to the satisfaction of teaching literacy and music hand in hand? Were my days of keeping beat on play dough over? Who would I bake and decorate note value cookies with? I decided my days of causing chaos as I knew it could not be over!


I hurried down the hall and walked up to the principal. I asked if my position had been filled. No! In fact finding a replacement was not going well. Several possibilities were announced to me. As I opened my mouth to ask if I could withdraw my resignation, the last option came out of the principal’s mouth; the school would hire a sub or a teacher's assistant. They would offer to help them become a t.a. if they were not already one because, “any idiot can teach little kids to sing little songs.”


I nodded, smiled, and said, ‘Indeed." The paper pause button hanging in the hall that we taught the students to use as a mindfulness tool caught my eye. I knew it was time to go so, I whispered, "good luck.”


While this moment is one of my any day lessons. As educators, we have an obligation to stretch our minds and abilities and to lead with love. I try to do this. I am still learning. When I take over the world, one school at a time, I want my teachers to teach, to lead, to receive the opportunities they need to feel fulfilled in our calling.


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