Thursday, May 17, 2018

SO YOU WANT TO BE A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR? HERE'S A THOUGHT


Many and I mean MANY aspire to one day become school administrators. School administration means so many different things to so many different people though. In fact, the term "school administrator" is problematic for me personally. I much prefer to use "school leader." To that end, once you make that decision that school leadership is where you see yourself in your next chapter, you must begin to think as a school leader. Of course, you do not yet have any experience or a concrete frame of reference in that role but you do have an imagination. You must look at all aspects of your present school and begin to think daily about how it would be different if you were the leader of it. Think about what programs would be in place. What policies and procedures would be in place? How would you lead your present school if you were the leader? What decisions would you make in all aspects of the school? How similar would you be to the present administration? What would you do differently? How would your school be a different school if you were leading it? The bottom line is that I am strongly suggesting that you think as if you were the leader. Continue to be focused on your students in your present capacity but as it relates to where you want to be as a leader one day, place yourself mentally in that position immediately. See yourself leading now. Claim your leadership today. In life, wherever one wants to be over time, one must mentally see themselves already there before taking the first step. That's having a vision for where you want to be....in this case having a solid vision of leading your school...AND THINKING AS IF YOU WERE ALREADY THE LEADER OF YOUR OWN SCHOOL.

A BRIEF REFLECTION ON THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPALSHIP


What a peculiar position the assistant principal position is. It is that one position within a school district where the individual who assumes this role cannot necessarily walk into a school and "hit the ground running." The assistant principal is there to "assist the principal." That translates into the role of the assistant principal (AP) being so dramatically different from school to school to school. No two principals necessarily use their APs alike. It all depends on the vision, experience and wherewithal of the principal. The one commonality that is a non-negotiable however is the AP as an INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER. This can't vary from school to school....particularly in high need schools. The AP MUST be utilized as an instructional leader along with the principal. If this person evaluates teachers but does not operate within the capacity of instructional leader, the teachers suffer and ultimately the children suffer. The basis of an administrator's supervision of teachers is the continued improvement of instruction. If the APs leadership is devoid of instructional leadership, one would have to question the authenticity of the evaluation process. So as I close, I am saying to all APs that you must lead instructionally. As you engage in your daily self reflection and assessment and you find that instructional leadership is not a part of your reality, you must engage in a self adjustment in conjunction with your principal. A huge portion of your day must be devoted to leading the teachers that you evaluate instructionally which begins with "living in those classrooms" consistently.

A BRIEF REFLECTION ON THE PRINCIPALSHIP


I reflect upon the principalship daily. I live and breathe the principalship. I was born for the principalship. It's a very fascinating position but it's really not for everyone. It is also a very complex and overwhelmingly demanding position. The principal wears countless hats in the span of any given 30 minute block of time throughout the course of a school day. The principal is expected to have immediate answers and solutions for every issue that arises in a school. Everything that could possibly happen or go wrong at any given moment in a school falls on the shoulders of the principal. On top of all of the principal's responsibilities, the principal is expected to be the instructional leader, informational leader, inspirational leader and the lead learner of the building. Student achievement is a direct reflection of the principal. The principal is expected to be an expert in school law, school finance and the school curriculum. The existing school climate and culture are a reflection of the principal too. The principal must also be able to effectively navigate the politics of the school, the district, and the city / town in which it is located....which is not always an easy endeavor. Principals would like to please everyone but in all actuality, they cannot. Someone somewhere will always be displeased. Principals have families too but they devote so much of their time and energy to their schools that they sometimes (and for some often time) neglect their own families. I could actually write forever about the role of the principal but I will stop here...(perhaps I will write a longer blog post on this topic soon) but I will end it with this...the principal is a human being with real human emotions that in most cases can't be exhibited because everyone is looking for the principal to stay in character and exhibit strength at all times. I salute all of the hardworking principals today. The principalship can certainly be thankless at times, but today, I'm saying to my principal colleagues, thank you for what you do for children.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR? HERE'S A THOUGHT

Many and I mean MANY aspire to one day become school administrators. School administration means so many different things...