Preparing for Change

It is that time of year again. People are winding down their summers, packing up multiple bags (and worrying about weight!), and beginning to think about heading “home”.  It is exciting in the first-day-of-school-jitters sense, and sad because the long summer holiday in home-countries is coming to a close. Plus, if your like me, you are heading back to a place you’ve been, a school you know, but so much change forecasted…it feels a bit like a moving year.

Change is part of life. Successful people- I’m learning- handle change well. However, it must be managed and can’t simply be a series of broad and blindsides. In our schools, change is exhilarating, but also exhausting. So this year, I’ve decided to focus on these five ideas to try and alleviate some of the negative side-effects of change.

  1. Get into a routine- fast. Whether it is getting up and walking or packing a good, nutritious lunch everyday, I am going to try and find a personal constant to start out on right away.
  2. Get the lists going. I’ve just started using the multi-device app- Wunderlist– and I love it. Not only can I log my items, I can see them on my computer, phone and ipad. (Plus, I really enjoy the slurping noise when I check an item off. Ah… the sound of progress!)
  3. Be flexible. This is something which is easily said, but sometimes hard to do. However, with so many new people coming into school this year, there are bound to be ups and downs. I can help everyone (myself included) by leaning in and going with whatever comes along.
  4. Remember why I’m here. In the midst of change, it is easy to lose sight of the reason you are showing up everyday. Each morning before school, I’m going to remind myself… “It’s about the kids!” Keeping that in mind will surely make it all come together.
  5. Laugh. There have been many times in my life when things are changing and it is uncomfortable- scary and unsettled. However, if I can find the humor in it, it all quickly feels better. (This might just be my “one-word” for the year. There is a great spot in my office where I can post it and easily see it from my desk…)

I’ll keep you posting on how my personal change management system is working this year. Let me know how you are faring.

 Photo credit: http://www.mikistrong.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/change.jpg

About Jen Munnerlyn

Jen Munnerlyn is the Elementary Principal at the American School of Warsaw. Her international experience began back in 1980 when her parents first started teaching overseas. Jen blogs about her own experiences as a Third Culture Kid, the adventures of being the mother of a TCK, and about elementary education in an international school setting. Her picture book The Adventure Begins, about the first day at an international school, is a favorite among adults and students abroad.
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