Posted in Catholic leadership, School Leadership

On Being Flexible

Sometimes I think we Autistics get a bad rap for being inflexible.

In reality, I think we’re the ones you want in a crisis since we can cut through all the junk everyone else can’t get past and come up with a solution quite quickly.

So, my aide decided to help me out by quitting without warning.  She was off work sick on Monday.  I went to bed on Monday, assuming she’d be back.  I wake up at midnight and happen to look at my phone (pro-tip: never do this) and see that she sent me an e-mail, quitting, at like 9:30 p.m. effective immediately.  Let us say I didn’t get much sleep.

But the funny thing was, of course, everything was fine.  She was, of course, not wrong in that we were overstaffed and as a parishioner, she was trying to help the parish out to save money, so really I can’t be fully mad at her.  The lack of notice was unpleasant, but heck, we’ve weathered so many odd things happening this year that no one was even fazed.

By the end of the day, my main two teachers and I came together with a plan and we’re going to use this as an opportunity to push up the teacher payscale (I have mentioned how low it is, even by Catholic standards).  One will take a voluntary demotion to aide and go hourly in terms of pay, and we’ll just become a one-room schoolhouse where one teacher supports the other.

For some reason, everyone is impressed with our ability to just go with what happens.  I’d like to believe that we’re Catholic schoolteachers, so this is what we do, and there’s some truth to that.

But I also think this is the blessing of having an Autistic principal.  I can lead through difficulty with new paths, new ideas and none of us is really all that worried anymore when the so-called unexpected happens.  It’s all unexpected.

All that said, I keep my routines at home (and increasingly at work) for comfort, as I think many of us Autistics do.  But I do think we Autistics can make huge changes really quite quickly and respond to any challenge.

The gift to see what is possible is essential in any unusual situation, and I think is critical to what kinds of changes we’re making now.

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