Looking at Icebergs

As a school administrator, you can often feel like you need to be everywhere at once, talking with another teacher, student, or parent. You are responsible for so many granular and macro details of an institution’s culture that others may presume you are being careless at best and negligent at worst about what they deem important. If you focus on classroom management with teachers you are ignoring the bathroom that need repairs; if you focus on a child who is struggling with transitioning to a new school, you are not examining student policies enough; and if you are working to better communication among various school constituencies, you might forget the sacrifice that a monthly tuition bill presents to many families.

Many of us are familiar with the statistic that roughly 10% of an iceberg is visible above water; since ice has 90% of water’s density, that same percentage is what lies beneath the water’s surface. It’s also an apt visual for educational leadership: even to the most critical eye, what is seen represents little of what is there. Schools are beautifully complex places that strive to accommodate multiple learning capabilities, update numerous physical plant needs, and create innovative approaches to integrating technology, among other priorities. All the while, leaders must be cognizant of personnel accountability, financial stewardship, and communicating with the various stakeholders about future endeavors…all within an ecosystem of care, concern, and core values!

So much of what goes into a successful school culture lies below the surface. The history of its founding, the present needs, and future ambitions all influence and inspire how a school proceeds in a mindful and intentional way. Collectively working tirelessly below the surface to ensure every child has the support and skills needed to excel at the next level of their educational journey, it echoes the psychological framework of the Johari Window Model of self-awareness. Turning inward to reflect upon the iceberg metaphor personally, it can reveal aspects of ourselves we share with close friends while simultaneously recognizing that part of our identity has yet to become. Seeing is indeed believing, but it does not tell the whole story behind a school and the beautifully complex web of relationships that makes it such a unique and special place.

It’s a Great Day to be a Bulldog!

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