Reflections of a First Year Administrator
One of the rewarding aspects of education is that with the end of each new year, comes an opportunity to start anew. For some, this means returning to the classroom recharged. But for others, it means a new position entirely. In 2016 I made a difficult decision (for many reasons) to leave my previous district. With my repositioning, my pay decreased by almost $10,000. My faith provided favor and a fresh blessing. In three years’, the time my purpose aligned with my life; from third-grade teacher to 4th-grade lead teacher, to an assistant principal.
Expect the Unexpected.
The Assistant Principalship provides administrators with adequate working knowledge and a whole “lotta” on the job training. I assumed the role of a master of instruction, discipline, scheduling, building maintenance, and a host of duties as assigned. By default I was expected to know a lot about everything. Some days were tedious and emotional. Others were joyous and colorful. None of my leadership courses could inject the working experience of handling the unexpected. By far the most challenging aspect of my role as a first-year assistant principal: Transitioning.
Three phases of my development:
How did I survive?
Embrace Your Why.
When you embrace your why, your what has a greater impact. Often, we know why something should be done. But shy away from the task due to fear or stress. Embracing your why means aligning your purpose into your actions. As leaders we must cultivate habits that close the gap between what we say we value and the action that follows. My why is to incite a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that focuses on personal development at all stages in life, creating a community of individuals that are educated, esteemed and empowered to reach their full potential.
Ten hours. That’s the minimum number of hours I spend each day on my campus. That’s a long time to pretend to be someone else. Growth as an assistant principal will foster leadership qualities. Your leading philosophy of education and personal commitments will guide your work with students, teachers, and your community.
Bridge the Gap.
The constant struggle of parents to advocate for the best education for their child. The teachers on the other hand must constant prove to parents that they are equipped to instruct. Neither are wrong-they are both right in their own premise. Parents are drive by love and nurturing instinct. Whereas, the teachers are assured that their decisions are right and are based on the must current observations, data, and instructional methods that parents may not be aware of.. As the instructional leader building relationships, staying connected, and making informed decisions bridges two ways of thinking with the student in mind.
“I Don’t Know, Let Me Find Out”.
My professor would say, “those who know they don’t know, know”. Admitting you don’t know provides a pathway to truth. You are free to find the answers or brainstorm solutions. I did not know all the answers or understand. The best answer I could give a teacher was I don’t know but give me time to find out”.
I am a planner and organizer at heart. You need a plan? I have a plan A, B, and C. Nonetheless I shy away from the creative process. But I have a team! A team of amazing individuals gifted in the areas that I exhibit limitations. Delegation is a key component to time management and maximization. Can you see the dream working?
My scope of influence transcends the 4 walls of the classroom. Never in a million years did I see that my "why" would lead me here. As a new administrator, I made mistakes. They are inevitable. I felt them, learned from them, and kept moving forward. I forged boundaries. Built professional relationships. I celebrated the small victories. I survived my first year!
Upcoming blog post:
EOY Reflection: 4 Questions For Every Educator
Embracing Your Why