Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.”Young people get frustrated with the system.”
(of a person) unable to follow or be successful in a particular career.”A frustrated actor”
prevented from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled.”Our parents may want us to fulfill their own frustrated dreams.”
A good friend of mine named, Steve Bollar, shared something with me several years ago that is so applicable to many edcuators:
“Vision frustrates your presence, but excites your future.”
As school leaders, we may live in a constant state of frustration because we may have a vivid image of what our schools can become as we remove barriers to allow teachers to teach, students to learn, and parents to become partners in the development of the whole child. We can see the emergence of a school culture where teachers take calculated risks by implementing technology in meaningful ways to engage their students, they allow student choice and voice in the learning process, and we can see the development of relevant learning activities that students don’t want to stop working on. We can see timely and meaningful recognition of student and staff success in visible and tangible ways. It’s exciting!
However, we also face the reality of unfunded mandates that take us in the opposite direction of our vision, we face an overemphasis on standardized testing to measure what students know and are able to do, and we are confronted with the reality of exhausted staff members who cannot take “one more thing.” This is where leadership comes in.
As we share our excitement about the future of our schools, we too, can frustrate our staff. We may share ideas, strategies, and articles that slowly push our staff out of their comfort zones. We ask deeper questions that require more than a simple, “yes” or “no” response. We question the existence of current practices in order to learn more about the “why.” We challenge the status quo while trying to manage the emotions that come from being pushed, gently or not-to-so gently, to do things differently. Yes, we can be just as frustrating to others as we are frustrated with our present situation. We have to keep this in mind as we navigate the change process through this challenging, yet exciting time in education. This, my friends, is leadership and it’s not easy.
When embracing this frustration, we must remember to focus on the progress we make towards reaching our goals, the connections we make with students and staff, and the positive stories that occur each and every day in the classrooms, hallways, athletic arenas, and in the arts. These positive images, videos, and anecdotes are proof that the excitement of our future is actually much closer to our reality than we think, see, and feel.