Inside the Trenches of the Principal: Week 17

This week I just want to talk about Thursday. It was a day that exemplified the highs and lows of this job. I had gotten to school about 6:30AM because I needed to get a couple things done before my 5th grade ambassadors got to school starting at 7:00 to do more training in preparation for an event at school that morning.

My school hosted the district magnet meeting that morning. As a part of the meeting, we would spend the first part of it doing a tour of the school, so principals, instructional facilitators, and magnet coordinators from the district could see pieces of the changes we’ve made to Moore, including Morning Choice, classroom greeters, and other aesthetic changes around the building. My eleven ambassadors (which include 5 brand new ones) nervously, yet excitedly greeted the district employees as they entered. They then got to bring the guests around the school and talk about what we are doing at Moore this year.

Afterwards, those at the meeting debriefed and shared observations and thoughts based on the tour. It was encouraging and touching to hear the comments being made because it affirmed that the work that has been put in this year is paying off. The pieces that these colleagues noticed were the exact focus areas that we’ve been working on since Day 1. Hearing that kind of feedback truly makes all of the work so worth it!

As I mentioned earlier, it was a high and low kind of day. Obviously, the morning was a great high! The afternoon was definitely tougher. As the day was ending, my assistant principal had to go to a training and my instructional facilitator was out sick. So it left me as the only administrator.

The day was almost done when a student got very sick, so we called EMS and had to take care of him (he’s fine). That brought me right up to dismissal time and I was trying to finish paperwork for a behavior issue for a child before she left for the bus. While finishing that I got a call on the bus lot that a bus driver needed to talk to me immediately. As I was talking to the bus driver, a parent came and found me on the bus lot because she needed to talk to me about her child. I walked back inside with the parent to finish the conversation. While that conversation was ending, two things happened at once: I had to go back out to the bus lot to get students who couldn’t ride the bus and wait with them while we got a parent to pick them up, and I got a text that PTA needed to have the building open later than 6:00 to distribute fundraiser items, but my custodians were leaving at 6:00 because of the holiday on Friday. That left me to close up the building. Then at around 4:45, I get notification that one of my students was dropped off at another school because there wasn’t someone to meet him off the bus, so I was working with that other principal on getting in touch with the parent. I was about to get in my car to pick up the kid myself from the other school when I got notification that he was picked up. While all this is happening, I’m supposed to be at a Teacher of the Year dinner.

It was at that moment that I had a realization (and a huge headache). As an educator, there are hundreds of decisions that have to get made every day. As a principal, I’d say there are probably thousands. Not everyone will like the decisions that you make, but moreover, not everyone understands why those decisions were made. My school needed me that evening, and that is where I stayed. I ended up getting home sometime after 8:00PM after having been at school since 6:30AM. After having a day now to look back on Thursday, I’m happy that a) it’s over and b) I survived!

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