As I enter my rookie year as an elementary principal, I find
myself going back to the song “For You.” by the Barenaked Ladies. The line that stands out, “If I hide myself wherever I go, I am ever
really there?” I am learning that I am judged on what I do, where I am, who
I talk to, how I handle myself in different situations and when I respond. That
said, I am also learning I am judged on what I do not do, where I do not go,
who I do not talk to, and how I respond or don’t respond in situations. So how
does this balancing act work?
Where do I need to spend my time? Who do I need to talk to?
How do I respond to students, to staff, to teachers, and to parents? If I take
time to process a situation, how much time is too much time? If I don’t take
time to craft a thoughtful response and hastily reply, then I risk fracturing a
relationship, losing trust. So how does this balancing act work?
I am learning that school happens and there are some days I
feel as though I have very little control and accomplished nothing. Those are the
same days I eat lunch on my drive home. As an educator you know those days I am
referring to. These days typically start with a 7:00 am meeting, follow by am
duty and a parent greeting me as I walk into the office. From there it may be a
call down to kindergarten to remove a difficult client from a room or a call to
check the boys bathroom for vandalism. I walk through classrooms and observe
lessons or check in with special education teachers. Generally it is 11:00
before I have a chance to catch my breath and I am off to check on lunch duty
and recess. I might sit down to try to read a few emails, but then I get called
to address another situation or speak with another parent. Then I am headed to
try to observe instruction or pull students because of one thing or another.
Then before I can finish my sandwich it is 3:00 and time for dismissal. That is
what I mean by school happens. So how does this balancing act work?
If I sneak away in the conference room to write an
evaluation or type a letter, am I hiding? If I turn out the lights in my office
and close the door to eat, am I hiding along the way? If I leave at the end of
the day and it is still daylight so I can get home were it is quiet to work, am
I being judged? If I sit in the quiet staff work room to write a note or catch
up on emails, am I where I am supposed to be? So how does this balancing act
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