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Sore Feet at the Beach

My wife and I love walking the beach. During low tide, we slip off our shoes and take a three mile jaunt on the hard packed sand. The sound of the waves, the sight of the shore birds and the occasional glimpse of dolphins are all we need for a great walk.

We recently invited another couple to the beach. After they arrived, we decided to take a walk on the beach. They asked if it was okay to walk barefoot and we enthusiastically endorsed that idea. Off we went.

The next day, my wife and I were ready for another walk but our guests demurred. Both of them had chafed and painful feet. Three miles of barefoot walking for the uninitiated was too much. It prevented them from walking again during their three day stay.

As many of you are starting a new school year, I ask you to think of our sore footed friends. You, who are returning to your school, need to remember that what you take for granted is new to those who are joining your school community. What is second nature to you may very well be painful to those who are not acclimated to the school and its culture.

Looking back, I remember that after the first few times I took the barefooted beach walk my feet were sore. You might remember when you first joined the school community, you too had areas that were challenging. It is safe to think that your challenges will be equally true for others.

When a high functioning team welcomes a new member, they take the time to orient them to the team. They review the team’s purpose, the team’s working agreements, and the team’s most important goals. It is equally important to review important pieces of the culture for both the staff and students who are new to your school. Doing so should make their entry into the community easier.

The last thing you want is for new folks to have sore feet and not want to walk alongside you as the school year progresses.

Enjoy this exciting times in schools.


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