Your insecurity will destroy you…

CC license @ shared via @kuhtser

CC license @ shared via @kuhtser

Last week I received an email that threw my world off kilter.

It was an informational email sending me to a training offered through the district. It was mandatory. It was in big letters. My attendance was required…it was so ominous. So direct. Even scarier, this was also a training I had been to previously within the district. (um…twice.)

Immediately, I got this ick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why did I have to go again? What was my new boss going to think? Oh no…did SHE think I needed to go? Was I that bad? Gulp…was this a sign?

Am I horrible at my job???

Yes, my mind went there. I racked my brain trying to figure out how I was going to explain that I had to go to this training…again…for a whole day and not be at school to my new boss. I wrote and rewrote the email telling her…not wanting to appear as if I didn't want to go, or latently suggesting I didn't NEED to go…but almost embarrassed I had to go. Guess what her response was? “Great, I go the day after you.”

Turns out a LOT of administrators were going, regardless of whether they'd had it before. All my panic? was for naught. (Believe it or not, the world DOESN'T actually revolve around me!)

This made me think about the emails I send out to our staff. Do we have insecure teachers? Of course we do. Teachers who probably infer tone or meaning in the emails that they read, the same way that I did. While I realize that my insecurities may be more extreme than the average teacher, :) it is still something to keep in mind. As ridiculous as it is, we have to acknowledge that their perception is their reality.

How can we offset that concern and worry?

* Understand that some people speak a different validation language than you do.

* Make sure your expectations are transparent.

* VALIDATE your teachers! Let them know you appreciate what they do and how hard they work!

* Make sure they know that if you have a problem with them you will let them know. (and be consistent with this! No surprises!)

Todd Whitaker writes about blanket statements and how they allow laggards to hide in anonymity, but also make your best teachers worry. KNOW that when you're writing and decide what message you are wanting to send.

If anyone has any tips on how NOT to be insecure, please let me know. Till then, I'll just be affirming others via email…

smily face sending,



6 comments for “Your insecurity will destroy you…

  1. Jon Harper
    September 5, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I really enjoyed this post because this is something that I struggle with as a parent and as an administrator. I too try to be cognizant of how an email or a statement will be received by staff. Todd Whitaker’s book, Shifting The Monkey, helps to crystallize the fact that our best teachers will be the one’s that take our emails to heart so we need to always consider how they will they receive them.

    A quote by Maya Angelou that was recently posted on Twitter has helped me relax more and it goes like this:
    “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. ” ― Maya Angelou. It really hit home with me. We all are are doing the best that we can and furthermore in our line of work, having to make hundreds of quick decisions a day, we are going to make mistakes. But, once we know better, or once we learn from our mistakes, we usually don’t repeat them, and we do better.

    A recent post my wife shared with me from Facebook, a site I am not on, was about a new parenting technique called CTFD. It made me stop and think and relax and laugh. We could all probably use a little of this “parenting technique” in our roles as administrators.

    Keep up the great posts, I thoroughly enjoy them.

    • September 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks Jon, for reading and commenting. :)

  2. September 5, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Awesome job Amber!!! Do you know how many emails I write, then re-write hoping to ensure the tone isn’t “misread” or “misunderstood?” UGH!!! I am lucky in that my PreK-12 campus is all together so I can walk a block to my elementary and talk face to face with teachers/staff….but then there is the fact that I’m the only Admin within 30 mins….so it’s the LONE RANGER thing!

    I am trying to rely on my Teacher leaders more and my amazingly quick emailing fingers less……it’s a struggle….INSECURITY is easily masked by a BILLION Emails! Ugh! Todd Whitaker is so right about those “blanket statements.”
    This year I’m taking the mask off….or at least trying….NOT as easy as I hoped! Thanks for your encouragement! Sorry your new boss is a chick….I’ve heard women principals are really the Worst!! (HEE! HEE!)

  3. September 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    ohhhhhhh, Daisy! How happy you make me! Am so glad it’s not just me, :)

    (and um, I can’t imagine Sleeping Beauty being the worst at anything!)

  4. Vicki Sullivan
    September 8, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Appreciate the timing and the message in your post! I’m resolved to share and connect more deeply with my staff this year. There’s too much at stake for our students to let my own insecurities get in the way. Matt Gomez’s “be brave” rule for his kindergarten class might be helpful for adults too.

Comments are closed.