If you would have told me in my past that I would be a school principal, I never would have believed you. Not when I was a young student (I’m sure my teachers would have also doubted this), when I was a teacher or even as an Instructional Coach. No way, would I ever become a principal, that’s crazy talk!
The principal role is a journey that I somehow ended up on and am glad that I made it here. I can recall comments from colleagues that I “went to the dark side” when I took on my first administration position (as a middle school assistant principal). I never really understood where that line came from…is it because principals are supposedly evil and cold-blooded or just from an “us vs. them” mentality?
In my seven years of being an administrator (one as an assistant principal and now six as a principal) I have found many joys in this role and (on most days) will tell you that I have the best job in the world! That said, I will also caution any new administrator or teacher seeking an admin position that it must be the most stressful position in education. I have previously written about how uncontrollable your day can be (in The Day in the Life of a Principal); despite the best of plans for the work you need/want to accomplish. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something else unthinkable happens and you end your day with stories that you “just can’t make up.” Even in my 6th year as a principal, when I feel like I should be the most efficient and better at my role than ever before, I still don’t know it all and am not an expert.
I do everything that I can to be the best leader I can be, make the best decisions and give everything that I can to make our school be the best school possible for our students. I’ve heard Todd Whitaker say that principals need to be the filter for their staff and I have taken that message to heart; always trying to maintain a calm, positive attitude, even though it feels as if the sky is falling. There are things principals go through on a daily basis that teachers just don’t need to know about, because they have enough on their plates already. Even if a teacher asks how things are going, I always try to respond with a smiling response, even though I may have just been yelled at by an angry parent, received news about an unexpected death, or found out that a gas mane just broke and an evacuation plan may be in order.
Despite all of my attempts to do the best work I can, I have days that I miss a deadline, forget to respond to an email, forget to follow through with something or even sometimes lose my cool. Why? Because principals are people too. No matter how superhuman I would like to be, I’m still human. I’m still a mom and a wife with a family at home (that often miss out on my time) and just a person trying to keep all the balls juggling in the air.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what the deal is with your principal, were upset that he/she didn’t do what you wanted, or feel like they’re on “the dark side”…please remember principals are people too!
The topic for this post was inspired by a group of fellow PLN
principals that I connect with daily. You can find each of their
posts on “Principals Are People Too” below: