When I started writing this blog in anticipation of assuming my new role as principal, I intended this to be a space for me to chronicle my impressions, struggles and victories in the job. At first I found it very therapeutic to get things off my chest or to attempt to articulate things or opinions that I was trying to get across to staff or the community as a whole. Then something happened: something got me sidetracked from that reflective state and I got into talking about the stuff that we were doing at the school and then about the pedagogy behind some of my ideas. It became a running dialogue with myself as I tried to gain some clarity in regards to my own vision of leadership.
This has been great, and something that has helped me to develop in this role, but I thought I would go back to my roots a bit tonight and just reflect on the process. Why you ask? Why did I just flop down into my chair to hammer out a blog that is breaking my recent pattern? Why do I feel the need to reflect on the job?
Cause the job is kicking my butt right now!
There I said it! I have to admit that there are times, (lots lately), when I just feel like there are too many balls in the air for me to keep track of. Just when I get my head around one thing, two others go sideways. As soon as I think I have one initiative covered, another one is dropped in my lap. Don’t get me wrong, I am honoured when one of my Sups calls me and says that they think I would be “perfect” for this committee or this conference, but the sheer volume of it all is a bit much.
And when I say volume, I don’t just mean amount, I mean VOLUME like noise and sound. The biggest difference between being a VP and the Principal is the amount of people that HAVE TO talk to you. There just seems to be a lot more people coming into my office and then closing the door behind them, thus indicating that the next words out of their mouth are going to mean lots for me to do. I don’t want this to come across as a rant or God forbid, whining as I just cannot stomach that at all, but I feel the need to get it out.
This is a particularly busy time of the school year. We are still dealing with admissions and that will impact staffing and scheduling for next year. These things mean that the union will be on high alert for moves and choices, as well they should. It is an odd reality in education that there are lots of people that will complain about the decisions I will make over the next little while, and will let me know about how they think I should have done something else, but in the same breath say that they would NEVER do my job. If you aren’t willing to do the job, then my only hope is that there be a small part of appreciation for the person who is willing to do it.
Have to catch myself now as this is starting to sound like whining! DON’T YOU DARE!
The truth of the matter is that the decisions and the dissent are not the hard parts. The tough parts are when life and the world find their way into schools. When I have to stop everything to deal with some of the most tragic and heartbreaking stories one could ever hear. I know these things are the most important things that have to get done to move on to the good stuff, but they are also the most draining. You work with some of these families, students and even teachers and wonder how they are going to make it through the next minute, much less the rest of their lives, and a little piece of you goes with them when they finally muster the strength to pull themselves out of the chair and compose themselves enough to open the office door and face their challenges. I admire them for their strength, but feel for their pain.
And no sooner are they out the door but something else comes across the desk, or through the door, or into my email inbox, that will require a bit more thought, possibly another unpopular decision and definitely another small piece of me, to get it resolved.
I love my job and the people I get to work with are amazing because they have worked so hard to make a truly special community. I love it so much that my only hope for my first year as a principal is that I have enough pieces of myself to give to get the job done this year. We are heading into the home stretch but I felt the tension in our community heighten this week and while that is good in so many ways, it is also concerning because while I have always thought of myself as a confident person, I wonder if I have that last kick in me to get to the finish line.
Okay, time to end cause that last part definitely crossed over into Whine Country.
I promise the next post will be a better one because I will be talking about SSLNs, new desks, Job Embedded PD and maybe even beanbag chairs!!
Thanks for listening.