Day 38: Terry Whitmell, Principal (Brampton Centennial SS)

I’m Terry Whitmell, Principal of Brampton Centennial SS, and I’d like to share my greatest learning today: people are much more forgiving of our shortcomings, than we as educators are ourselves.

I woke up in the middle of the night, realizing that I had volunteered to contribute to this “What I learned today” blog, and that the email confirming this had been read quickly, and then quickly forgotten in the daily rush. I also realized that my “scheduled” date was likely a week or so ago (it was actually October 16… and today is the 24!). Immediately I felt embarrassment, and then panic. Was there a blank entry on the blog page, with my name at the top? Were there a group of Peel educators, thinking I was irresponsible or disrespectful?

So, this morning I sent an email to two of the organizers, and received the most forgiving and supportive emails back, inviting me to contribute in any case.

This has been a lesson that has been repeated many times throughout my career. When I’ve felt ill, my students have stepped in to lead the class, and make me feel better. When I’ve been in crisis, my teaching colleagues have helped out with emergency lesson plans. When the line-up of students outside my VP office has lengthened, my colleagues have stepped in. And when, as a Principal, I’ve asked my staff or students for help, they’ve always come through for me.

As educators, we are trained to “judge”. We see the world with a critical eye, always ready to provide descriptive feedback, whether invited or not. Fortunately, we are also successful due to our Emotional Intelligence, and are often able to communicate this feedback in a positive way, preserving dignity and respect. I certainly see this in the feedback I receive from my staff, and I hope I am able to do so when I interact with them as well.

So, as with this blog, we need to encourage each other to take risks, try out new things, and be prepared for a few “failures” along the way. This is the only way that we are going to build our personal resilience, and model it for our students and colleagues.

This year I’ve ventured into Twitter (both as @TerryWhitmell and @bcssbucks), begun a personal blog (TerryWhitmell.com) and applied to a job posting in another board. The first two were great successes, and the latter was a “failure” that turned out great since I received excellent feedback from the interview team, and got to stay in Peel DSB.

So, take risks, follow your passion, and you’ll end up learning and growing!

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3 thoughts on “Day 38: Terry Whitmell, Principal (Brampton Centennial SS)

  1. Phil Young

    Terry,

    We are very happy to have you share as a part of the project. Your words speak of honesty and how things can be for educators when they are administrators, classroom teachers, support staff or… We all, at times require the help of a colleague or co-worker to help us get from point A to point B and like yourself I have found myself at the receiving end of a helping hand, something I cannot thank those who have help enough for.

    Again, thank you for sharing and we looking forward to future contributions, from yourself, staff and students @bcssbucks

    Reply
  2. slewisyoung

    Terry,

    I totally get it, it’s so busy right now! I like to pretend I’m organized and on top of things but the truth is I forget a lot of things. Like you my colleagues have always been really great of being supportive and understanding. I’m glad you got in touch and decided to write for the project anyway! Your contribution is amazing and we are lucky to have you share. I’m glad that Peel was able to keep you too 🙂

    Reply

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