I attended a virtual professional development conference on Thursday led by three tremendous educators, Tom Murray, Joe Sanfelippo and Jimmy Casas. One of the workshops that they facilitated was entitled "Current Reality vs. Desired Reality." Our current reality right now is a difficult one. Whether we are students, parents, teachers, staff members or administrators, we are living each day not sure what is going to happen. It's really hard. Unfortunately, right after the conference we had to make a decision to close the school the next day to conduct contact tracing of positive COVID-19 cases that have arisen. Our current reality is that safety needs to be our number one priority. While we want to be focused on being in school, working in person, collaborating with each other, finishing our fall sports seasons, traveling to other places to see relatives, the current reality is that we have to watch out for one another and sometimes have to make difficult decisions.
During this workshop, Joe Sanfelippo posed the question, "What brings you joy?" I have to be honest, I struggled with that answer. (Not personally, because my family brings me more joy than I can ever imagine, but professionally. What brings me joy today as a Principal?) What brings me joy professionally are things that we have been unable to do to our full capacity for the last eight months and especially the last few days and the immediate future. My current reality, at first glance, is definitely not my desire reality.
But when I think deeper, there has been a lot of joy in my current reality. The fact that we have been in school in person for two and half months in the middle of a pandemic. Up to this point our fall sports teams were able to play and have had successful seasons. Our marching band earned all kinds of accolades during their "virtual" season. Our teachers have been doing an amazing job figuring out ways to reach students inside and outside the classroom. Our students have worked through all kinds of challenges to persevere. The PTHS community has rallied around each other through this time to help those in need. My desired reality is that we do everything we can to live our excellence in a safe, positive, supportive environment. The reality is we are doing that. Although our current reality is difficult at times, it is important to find the joy that is around you. There is a lot to be desired...you just have to know where to look. #findyourjoy
Richard M. Hayzler
A life long educator and current Principal of Pequannock Township High School in NJ, Rich is excited to share his ideas and thoughts about education and how we can change the world for our students and our staff.