Thank you for visiting the ISU Ed. Leadershop. Our intent over the past few years has been to field-test community-engaged writings for PK-20 practitioner conversation -- quick, 5-minute "read's" that help put into perspective the challenges and opportunities in our profession. Some of the writings have remained here solely; others have been developed further for other outlets. Our space has been a delightful "sketch board" for some very creative minds in leadership, indeed.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rainy Days in K-12

Rainy Days in K-12

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

Seems as though, at times, some in our profession need an uplift, as if they walk about early in the week thinking to themselves:

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
(Williams & Nichols, (1971).

What we can offer them is a kind smile, of course, and for the ones who delight in deeper conversation in the lounge or break room, a way to unleash their minds through an appeal to their right-brained intellect.  Here’s one such way.

This week, for leadership whose staffs are truly seeing less-often “the sun” in K-12 education, I am hoping you’ll have a discussion and look at the rain differently, just as I had the opportunity last Saturday while sitting on my deck amidst all that was cool, wet, and clammy.
In doing so, I jotted down a few things I noticed about rainy days, as I thought of my time in K-12 and even that now in higher education (friends Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker have aptly addressed Mondays).
Those few things follow. 
In reading what I have written, can you make the connections [for each] to your K-12 experience, and would you be willing to share with a friend or colleague?  Please feel free to disagree and note that some may just not fit. 
You might divide them among your PLC groups, or however you like.

A Rainy Day  . . .

Allows us “open-eyed clarity” over the more frequent “squint,” borne of unrepentant glare;

Prevents “sunburn” caused by “overexposure”;

Provides an excuse to get “less done here,” so we can focus “more on there”;

Brings “family” together all under “one roof”;

Provides “balance and sustenance” to an environment lacking such;

Invites “an umbrella,” and an opportunity for the discovery of vulnerability, or vanity;

Provides a natural “facelift” to our pathways, playgrounds, parks, and professional settings;

Offers, in the midst of our hurry and clutter, “ambient soundscapes” that are calming;

Allows for the collection of resources, and thus “energy” that is economically regenerative;

Gives us a deepened appreciation that days often considered regular, whatever the weather, are “a gift.”


This is not so much an activity for those seeking “coffee-mug happy’s” or “bumper-sticker smileys”; rather, ones who wish to stretch their socio-psychological understandings of the larger “permissions” that affect us through rainy days at work, AND the resultant effects upon how our children view the world themselves, through our lead.

Best to you as you turn your minds and make a vicarious difference, while the skies open.


Williams, P., Nichols, R. (1971). (Recorded by The Carpenters). On Carpenters [The Tan Album].  New York, NY: Jack Daugherty Productions, A&M.


Please join Ryan Donlan in opening-up to the world around us and making a connection that we can share in the ISU Ed. Leadershop.  We would love to give credit to your good thoughts, while putting together relevant pieces for K-12 to share.  Just give Dr. Donlan a call at (812) 237-8624 or write at

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