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I have the privilege of meeting dozens of Australia’s outstanding Principals in my travels to visit our Real Schools Partner Schools.

Occasionally, one of these remarkable people says something that gets right under my skin.

And so it was last week when I was chatting with Grovedale College Principal, Janet Matthews.

We were discussing the challenges in trying to identify leadership qualities in applicants to leadership roles and how the interview process, while highly valuable, often doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know.

Janet likes to ask an interview question such as “Can you tell me about a time you fervently disagreed with your Principal and how you handled that?”.

You see, Janet knows that working in a school is going to be far more rewarding than working on a production line.  She also knows that, with the potential rewards, comes the risk of disappointment.

A bad day.

An angry parent.

A nasty student.

A missed promotion.

A flat “No, you can’t” from your Principal.

Sure, we can all have an emotional response to any stimuli.  But Janet is inherently curious about your ability to eventually resume your usual positive transmission to the school community.  

We need to remember that we teach more to others about ourselves – colleagues, parents and students –when things don’t go well than we do when things are hunky dory.

How do you respond to the unavoidable disappointment of being an educator?