After reading several of my PLNs blog posts on this topic, I decided to add my voice into the mix as well.
I’ve just completed my first year as a campus principal. It’s been said that “nothing could’ve prepared me for this challenge.” But on the contrary, I believe I’ve have the experience necessary to do the job well. I was in the classroom for 10 years and served as an assistant principal for four. Additionally, I became the principal of feeder campus so I could continue the relationships I have with previously families. I believed I was setup to have a successful school year.
I think it would be more accurate to say this was one of my most challenging years as an educator…
But then again – it should be.
I am the only person in this campus that does this job. If there’s a problem, it filters through me. I have the toughest conversations, attend the most stressful meetings, and deal with the most challenging situations. The decisions I make impact the most people throughout the campus and throughout the school community. This ability is both a blessing and curse. I love my job because of the positive impact I can have in the lives of individual teachers, students, and the families that support our school. But if I make the wrong decision (or a decision that someone doesn’t agree with), then I can be perceived as “one of them” or “on the dark side”. I fear that I will be perceived as a principal that “doesn’t truly understand our situation” or “forgotten what it’s like to be in the classroom”.
But let’s remember something, principals are people too!
I love my students and care deeply for my teachers. I want what’s best for my students to be successful. However, I’m the one who has to make the tough decisions (and sometimes people get upset). I don’t walk around my building thinking my way is the best way, but I AM the one that’s most accountable for my campus.
There’s one thing I’ve discovered about this role that surprised me… I love my teachers. Just like in the classroom, teachers love all their kids, I care deeply about all my teachers. (Yes even the ones that drive me CRAZY!) If my teachers are happy and excited about something, I get excited too. And if they are worried or sad about something, I am too!
As I was writing this post and reflecting on my practice, natural I thought about my teachers. Then it occurred to me — I miss them! I miss seeing their faces, hearing about what’s going on in their lives, and listening to their crazy ideas to motivate and engage their students.
So I decided to call them! I sure it was a little strange for me to call my teachers in the middle of their summer vacation, but I just wanted to check-in with them. I didn’t talk about a new vision/mission for the upcoming school year. No discussion about their summer PD reading. Nothing about my philosophy of instructional technology. Just a simple, hello… how’s your summer vacation… what’s your plans for the fourth of July? I was able to speak to about four teachers and left messages for several more. I will call more in the morning.
We all need to realize that we’re all working together and here to support each other. No, we won’t always agree with each other, but no one is the enemy either. As long as you are in this to help students be successful, then we can work together … and I mean ALL students (even the ones that sometimes smell funny — see Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk ).
Thanks PLN for letting me join in on this topic. For other Principals are People Too posts, see these from…