Lost Barns – Lost Opportunities
By Katherine G. H. Reichley, CEOE
This past summer I saw a handful of barns in our area come down. It made my heart sad to see these majestic buildings originally built to support the work and life of farmers reduced to rubble. So why did these grand storage facilities for animals, grain, and sometimes people all of a sudden become useless? Although I have no way of knowing for sure, I can guess it is because they were too run down to support the workload or they were no longer needed. With a slight twist in wording, these might be similar responses we have heard as decisions are made in our schools to reduce the work force or promote one person over another.
So how do we keep from becoming obsolete and insignificant so we can stay on the promotion list instead of the reduction pile? My suggestion starts with the following two words: professional development. And, I am defining this in the broadest sense possible including reading on your own, watching webinars, learning from colleagues, attending conferences, listening to a speaker, writing your job manual, joining a committee to improve something at your school, and the list goes on. In addition to the variety of ways to learn, there are so many items to learn from technology tips to electronic filing, leadership skills to ways to organize events, and information to help a teacher with a project to community connections to enhance student services.
As you take advantage of opportunities for yourself, remember to bring your fellow educational office professionals along. Share a great article, invite them to attend a presentation with you, write an article for the university newsletter, create a handout with some timely technology tips, ask someone to join NAEOP, etc. Value yourself enough in this New Year to make a commitment to professional development and be brave enough to invite a co-worker to come along for the ride. Given the economic situation in schools today, there is no room for you to become lost or grow obsolete. Accept the challenge to develop yourself and others this year.