Sombreros, sandwiches and wisdom

Greg Jarvis was a wonderful Principal that I had the privilege to work with in the Northern Territory.

Greg, by his own admission, was far from perfect.  One day that he walked into my office and bellowed that the parent meeting he’d just conducted was “Like eating a shit sandwich” … while that parent was still in the foyer!

Far from perfect.

But every day, Greg welcomed students into the school at the driveway of the school wearing a ridiculously oversized sombrero.

Greg new the power of positive first contact.  He knew that the driveway of the school was a potentially dangerous location.  And he knew that high visibility as a leader in his priorities was important too.

What Greg artfully did was combined these three kernels of wisdom into a 15-minute daily ritual.  Just 15 minutes.

The return for Greg was a genuinely supportive community who didn’t care too much about his imperfections.  When they gathered at barbecues parents and students didn’t discuss his approach to literacy or what he did with the rest of the 15-minute blocks in his workday.

But they did talk about him being the friendly Principal in the giant hat who says good morning every single day with a smile, whether it’s stinking hot or pouring rain.

And he was also swiftly forgiven with a laugh by the parent in the foyer.  Seriously.

Greg passed away a few years back now, but his legacy to me is to stop spending huge tracts of time doing things that either don’t matter or that nobody sees.

It’s all small stuff.  And if you can combine priorities into a one visible habit, you achieve enormous goodwill in your school community.

I’m not sure that either Greg or I see him being in heaven right now.  But wherever he is, I hope there aren’t too many shit sandwiches on the menu.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. This coming Thursday at 2pm AEDT I’m running a webinar titled The Comeback Kid for all Educators (including both Teachers & School Leaders) who are determined to successfully transition their students from remote learning to face-to-face instruction at the back end of 2021.  We’ve researched this carefully and there are eight aspects every school staff needs to discuss.  Plenty registered already.  Come along eh!


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