Well That’s Fantastic!

Today was a prime example of “WTF ~ Well that’s Fantastic”.   I’m not sure about our colleagues in other parts of the province, but the new “normal” for my day is crossing my fingers that all staff absences are covered by occasional staff.  I find myself checking the system before I go to sleep, when I first wake up and again before I leave the house.  At that point, if there is still an unfilled job, my thought process on the way into work becomes which chess pieces on the board will have to be shuffled today in order to ensure maximum student safety with a less than full force of staff members. There have been days that during my 20 minute drive into the school positions have magically been filled or more often than not, more openings have been created.

This morning, as I drove into the school, I actually allowed myself to enjoy the countryside drive as I listened to CBC radio.  I had checked the system and we were good to go. “All hands on deck” is a phrase that I love starting my day with and I was positive that was how today was going to start.  And indeed it did….until 8:50 am.  At that point our admin assistant popped her head into my office and sheepishly shared that the occasional teacher who had picked up one of our open assignments was refusing to teach in the afternoon.  “She says that she only teaches primary”.   For our staff member who was absent, her day is spent with a grade ½ class in the morning and then with half of a grade 7 class in the afternoon (15 lovely students).

My initial reaction was one of disbelieve and then exasperation ~ one of those WTF moments.   As I went out to the main office, my demeanour quickly softened as I explained that we were in need of her help ~ if she could support the grade 7s in the afternoon (only 15 of them), we would truly appreciate it.  Her response was a curt and abrupt, “I only teach primary”. She was refusing to teach the grade 7s and proceeded to school me on how the posting should have been reflected in TVARRIS.  I’ll admit at that point my demeanour was not overly “soft” as I returned to my office and back to the “chessboard”.   Now what to do? 

At that moment, one of our grade 1 educators was walking past and noticed my look of annoyance.  She inquired as to the cause and before I could finish sharing the full scenario, she piped up and said, “I’ll teach the grade 7s this afternoon and she can teach my grade 1s”.   This selfless, tremendous offer poured out without a moment’s hesitation.


For readers who may not be overly familiar with our situation at Sir Arthur Currie PS, we are a brand new school ~ we opened our doors in September.  This grade 1 teacher does not have the luxury of knowing these students as their former teacher. Her interactions with the intermediate division have been limited as a result of our exciting but chaotic first year and yet none of that phased her.

Needless to say, we took her up on her offer and then at the end of the day, we listened with great interest as she shared her interactions, her insistence that our grade 7s enjoy a Read Aloud prior to embarking on their writing task and her explanation of the proper way to use a wobble stool.   And as she laughed her way through the explanation and garnered praise from her colleagues for her wonderful offer of help, I couldn’t help but think to myself ~ WTF ~ Well, that’s FANTASTIC!!!

I bet we’ve all had those WTF days. Would love to hear about yours!

Come write with me….

5 thoughts on “Well That’s Fantastic!

  1. Good for her for stepping up! We have similar coverage problems at my school, and someone always needs to step in and help out. I know our principal, like you, appreciates it!

  2. Sue,

    I always appreciate following your journey in leadership and learning through this space!!! You are such an incredible role model for us all!

    Hoping to fill your bucket with more tales of pitching in, your recount makes me want to share another quick story of a teammate who was willing to “step outside their comfort zone” and “pinch hit” for the team….Going outside of her comfort zone, one teammate took on an “opportunity” to work with one of our intermediate classes for the day…not only did the students line up at the principal’s door to request she fill the LTO for the rest of the year, the educator was so thrilled with her experience that she is now taking her INT AQ this summer!

    Isn’t it amazing what stepping outside of our comfort zone might lead us to…..

    Thank you, Sue, for leading through your own reflections and learning!

  3. Jim Rollins in his book ‘From Good to Great’ writes, “The enemy of great is good.”

    David Ennis, “The enemy of great is entitlement.”

    As long as you can see the ‘fantastic’ in these stories, you’ll be fine, Sue. When that becomes too hard to do, then you’ll know what to do next….

  4. Loved this Sue! It is amazing how fantastic is found sometimes in the most unlikely places!

  5. You had me at, WTF. 🤣🤣
    What a fun read, Sue. Getting through the post was effortless and entertaining the whole time. Kudos to your grade 1 teacher. It’s teachers like that who are the GLUE we need in our schools.
    I could share countless WTF moments in my time at Hillcrest PS. I was a fellow member of a posse of teachers called, The Spice Girls. We were the posse who ran assemblies, play days, Carnival, concerts, shows, and special events. When push came to shove…we filled our preps with teaching for other Spice Girls during set-ups, extra rehearsals, sound checks…even attending our own kids PDTs or Kindie Tea parties. It really takes a village and I will always remember the acts of kindness my colleagues have delivered. To make it in this world of education…we need people to work together…unconditionally.
    Thanks for pressing PUBLISH 😉.

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