Finding your Tribe

This has been a week of highs and lows for me and I want to acknowledge that I know this is all part of the process and I am okay. (no need to worry mom lol) I am truly loving this new and exciting leadership experience. It is such a joy to welcome the smiling faces of so many students each morning and to see the amazing talents of so many skilled educators. Teaching and learning is fun and student centred. I am getting great professional and personal satisfaction from this work every day!

I am however missing my colleagues and friends from home. This week with everyone starting school again, seeing one another and catching up I cannot help but think I am missing something. I realized just how much support I had from so many AMAZING colleagues. I miss the phone calls on the morning commutes or rides home where we discussed and working through thousands of problems. I miss the sharing of ideas and support. I miss our Community of Schools meetings where we worked on professional learning together and shared common challenges and successes. I miss the laughter, sarcasm and opportunity to just be myself 100% of the time. I miss celebrating personal and professional milestones of my staff. I miss my colleagues that pushed my thinking and forced me to grow and learn from the uncomfortable. I miss the leadership of a superintendent where I really and truly felt I could be 100% honest and transparent. In short I miss my tribe.

I remember this feeling when we first moved to Osceola, Wisconsin. It took us about a year to settle into the community, to make friends and to feel like we really and truly had a home there. I know it takes time and I also know it takes effort. I know I have to be patient which as all of my friends and family know is NOT my strong suit. I am trying to fall into new routines and expand my horizons. I am proud of myself for doing things alone and being comfortable with that. I am expanding my radius and venturing off in directions a little further from home. This week I am going to try acroyoga and go to a networking opportunity for Beijing administrators where I hope to meet some colleagues that I can call if needed. My apt feels more like a home now and I enjoy spending my time here. I try really hard to balance my time between work and home and have been pretty good about making sure to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. I am by nature very shy and introverted so pushing myself to get out there is challenging for me at times.

I think this week was tough too because I was not feeling well, my back was out of whack, my computer died and my filling came out. These things I would usually take in stride and make a plan to address but here it takes some figuring out. I did not need a doctor thank goodness but we have excellent health care so that is not a worry. I have found a dentist and osteopath so I will see them this week and I am going to have IT look at my computer before taking it to be repaired. All challenges easily managed with the help of others but challenges none the less. The language barrier can be very tricky to navigate so even things like taking a cab to get where you need to go can be difficult! You realize just how independent you are at home when you have to rely on others to figure things out. Everyone is so helpful here so I never feel like I am on my own! The only drawback is waiting for others to help you. Again as my family and friends know….patience is not my strong suit.

I know I will find my place eventually but it takes time. Until then I will keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and trying to make connections with others. I am also going to try and be more patient with myself.

PS: Miss you Zed, Scotty P, Scott Askey, Lisa, Helen, Nance, Michelle, Marek and Dave!

6 thoughts on “Finding your Tribe

  1. I want to get on the next flight and give you a hug. I’m very proud of you for undertaking this adventure. You might not realize it now, but it will change your life forever in positive ways. Thinking of you.

  2. I could feel exactly what you wrote. I don’t think I could do what you have done. That in itself is a huge accomplishment. You are smart to recognize that it will just take time. Enjoy!

  3. I have felt the exact feeling you are describing, and yes, it does take about a year to build your “tribe”. The good news is with technology, you can have access to all these important peeps and they will be there for the successes and challenges, just maybe not in the exact same way. I am very inspired by what you are doing. It sounds hard. It sounds challenging, but think how you are growing and what you are learning! Incredible!

  4. Kudos to you, AM, for your risk taking, sincere honesty, and preserverence. I enjoyed reading this. All the best to you this year – I look forward to reading more!

  5. Thanks for your honest reflections. I remember moving to Ohio and then later to Ontario. It was hard starting over. These were also the times when I grew.

    I admire your adventurous spirit.
    Take care,

  6. Dear AnnMarie,
    I connect with your ‘out of context” emotions. That strange loss and disconnect was what I felt when I met you and Lisa in Santa Fe, NM. You welcomed me under your wing and we stayed connected. I hope you bond with someone native to Bejing to get the best experience.
    I think you are brave and strong and inspiring. Focus on the children on a daily basis and it will keep you going. Reach out to colleagues and friends, as they are there for you. I would make a visit if had more details, or perhaps pursue a position next year. Keep in touch.
    Glad I met you and want you to know I believe in you!
    Marge Kerr

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