Far Away Look

Wrapping up the school year is always exciting and stressful all at the same time. Regardless of who you are, parents, teachers, staff members – everyone feels overwhelmed. Often times we walk around with a far-away look in our eyes thinking about everything that needs to be done. Here is my perspective as a building principal…

You might be thinking about scholar placements for next year or why you got THAT scholar. But what I am thinking is, “I need to screen applicants for the certified position that just reopened this morning, recognizing that anyone with credibility is likely already hired.”

You might be worried about your room being painted over the summer so you can start fresh next year. But what I am thinking is, “I still need to process all of the end of year checkout packets and prioritize repairs and work orders.”

You might be worried about when your carpets will be shampooed or when you can set up your room for next year. But what I am thinking is, “Now that the year is over, I need to fill those open paraprofessional positions with qualified candidates.”

You might be thinking about getting rid of old science and social studies curriculum and where to put your new ELA curriculum. But what I am thinking is, “I need to organize the retained scholar paperwork and be prepared if parents appeal the recommendation.”

You might be thinking about how to get more storage shelves for your class.  But what I am thinking is, “I need to meet with parents of open enrollment scholars who were declined because of discipline or attendance.”

You might be thinking about what to do with items you’ve accumulated in your classroom over the years. But what I am thinking is, “I need to analyze our embargoed AzMerit scores and reflect on the effectiveness of teaching and learning”

You might be thinking about securing important dates for the 2018-2019 school year, like when is curriculum night or meet the teacher. Wondering why don’t we have those dates set yet? But what I am thinking is, “I need to verify classified and certified make-up day plans and confirm the days you worked match the days you said you worked.”

You might be thinking about getting copies and materials ready for the first week back and worrying about an earlier start date than usual.  But what I am thinking is, “Will our new hires bring what they sold and help move teaching and learning forward? Will our returning staff reflect on our accomplishments and step up to meet new challenges of the upcoming year?”

You might be thinking, “When will we get our specials schedule and please don’t put our grade first, please don’t give us the first lunch.” But what I am thinking is, “How will we adjust the specials schedule to accommodate four new classes, while continuing to provide service minutes for seven self-contained classes.”

You might be thinking, “Why don’t I get to move my file cabinet even though I am switching rooms. But what I am thinking is, “Will I make it until the end of June? Will the ocean sound and smell like I remember? Will I actually pause long enough to enjoy the crashing waves and cool air?”


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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