Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Administrator Aspirant

Today was the first day of a four day "course"on being an aspiring administrator. I sort of stumbled onto this life path and I found myself looking around wondering where I'd wind up if I stay the course. I'm sure the answer is obvious to most: a principal. The funny thing is, I'm taking this course, and beginning a new degree in administration, but I'm still completely incapable of picturing myself as a principal. So many of the choices I have made that have led me here to this day are because of the encouragement of others. I often succeeded where I was convinced I wouldn't, agreed to something when I didn't think I had any interest...and along the way I became something I didn't realize I was and still struggle with defining myself as: a teacher leader.

I love teaching. I love everything about it. Teaching is what I wanted to do since I was an elementary student myself. My parents used to tell me that one day I'd realize that if I really wanted to make a difference I would need to be a principal. I used to laugh at that because I believe I am making a difference. Every single day. But lately, I'm starting to see what they mean. There is a bigger world out there beyond the four walls of my classroom and the more I get involved in committees, the more I see the way things work, the stronger my desire to get right in the thick of it.

Today is a perfect, my superintendent happened to be the guest speaker. She went around the room and asked each of us to name something we would do if we were an administrator. After everyone had a chance to express their ideas, she looked at all of us and said, "Why are you waiting?"
Well. That just stopped me in my tracks. The answer I gave myself was "I don't really know." Definitely not good enough. So, right then and there, I started listing a proposal to overhaul our site based professional development. This is an easy area for me to start with because I am going to be chair of our Professional Development Committee. Plus, I like the idea of trying to do something different than the men that chaired the committee before me.

Today, my superintendent also drove home a message that resonated with me on so many levels, and made me respect her so much more. She stressed the importance of following your heart, and staying true to yourself. I have a feeling that if I do that, I will wind up as a principal one day....even if I can't imagine it myself.

So, to you, my fellow bloggers, I ask: why are you waiting?


Anonymous said...

"One day I'd realize that if I really wanted to make a difference I would need to be a principal. I used to laugh at that because I believe I am making a difference. Every single day. But lately, I'm starting to see what they mean."

Can you explain your view at greater length? Because I don't think I agree. All the administration in the world doesn't matter if there isn't someone to work directly with each student.

My view is that little else matters except what a teacher does with her students: not the particular textbook, nor the gimmicky software, nor the imposed curriculum. The fundamental lessons - how to learn, how to discipline oneself, how to read with understanding, how to write, how to manipulate abstract ideas such as numbers - depend principally on the teacher.

It seems to me administrators start their administration careers with good intentions, but once away from the front lines, they forget the important stuff.

Kelli said...

Anonymous comment and potential debate aside, I just wanna say - rock on girl.
I thought this post was empowering.

nancypearlwannabe said...

I was just commenting to a co-worker the other day that even though I greatly admire what administrators do, I could never, ever be one myself. At least not in a middle school. Why? Because I hate paperwork. And the parents would drive me CRAZY.

I'm so glad there are people like you that want that challenge!


This post WAS empowering. You can be one of those administrators that DOESN't forget the important stuff. You have a choice. You can be the type of principal that sits in her office all day doing paperwork, or you can do things like make a promise to try to visit each classroom at least once a week and be open, visible and accessible to the students. Just a rough example...

I've been on both sides in school settings -- I've worked in Development and Fundraising as the Special Events Coordinator, I've worked in Admissions as an admissions counselor for a private elementary school, I've been the Alumni Relations Coordinator for my alma matter and I also ran the Parent Teacher Council and parent volunteers. Although I'm teaching in the classroom now, I surely haven't forgotten about the important stuff. And I believe that you won't either.

Listen to your heart, Lisa. And always challenge yourself and ask yourself why you're waiting.