Inside the Trenches of the Principal: Week 27

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am personally ready to get back to a “normal” schedule. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. Between delayed openings and early closings, getting stranded in New Orleans, closed schools, mid-year testing, mid-year observations and meetings, and catching the flu, I’m ready to return to a normal schedule (though that’s a relative term in this position)!

This past week was definitely highlighted by a special birthday surprise from my students and staff. I don’t think I have ever been surprised like that, and I am greatly humbled and thankful to those who made that happen!

One of the more entertaining moments came yesterday (Friday) during arrival. I usually try to do a quick lap through the school during arrival just to make sure all of my rooms are covered, seeing if anyone needs anything, and so on. As I was walking by my first grade classrooms, there were a couple of teachers with their phones out taking pictures inside the room. I also heard music and laughter. As I got to the door, I see my teacher, Ms. Pratt, standing atop an extra table she had in the classroom dancing to “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” As many of you know, I’m no stranger to the tops of tables, so I made the easy decision to join her up there!

Afterwards, I wondered how many principals would have freaked out and told their teachers to get down? Or how many teachers would have never have even thought about getting on top of a table because they thought they would get in trouble? I refuse to let my school run that way. I want my school to be a place where my teachers are brave enough to take risks, put themselves out there, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

With all that fun, though, comes a lot of pressure I put on my staff and myself to teach at the highest level possible! We’ve had a lot of discussions recently about our pedagogy and what is and is not acceptable for teaching practices at Moore. I’ve forced many to rethink what they’ve been doing for years and with that comes a natural frustration. I’ve heard the complaints that “It’s never good enough” and “What does he want from me?” Just as we ask our students to have a growth mindset and continually push ourselves, I have the same expectations for my staff and myself (since I complain to myself about myself sometimes as well).

The tough conversations are all worth it, though, when I get to experience what I did at the beginning of this past week. On Monday (which was a teacher workday), one of my 5th grade teachers texted me and was telling me to come to her room. When I got up there she had the biggest and proudest smile on her face. It reminded me of when my son wants to show me that he cleaned up his room. I walked into her room and she COMPLETELY redesigned the room! She had previously had traditional rows, but after going to New Orleans with me to the Get Your Teach On Conference, now made small groups with all sorts of shelving for the kids and fun designs. It was an amazing transformation and I was so proud of her! I could tell how excited and proud she was of herself, and deservedly so! She has completely taken a new spin on her teaching and it has given her this fresh perspective on everything! It’s moments like this that stick with me and make me want to continue fighting to send my teachers to these conferences and giving opportunities to rethink everything about education! 

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