Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My first year as an administrator...

Today is the last day of school. Today is also the last day of my first year as an administrator...

I am an assistant principal in a school with 750 students. I am one of two administrators in the building, and we have a staff of roughly 70 certified and classified staff. I have a very supportive and encouraging building principal, and we have two great counselors and an awesome school resource officer with whom we work very closely. Most importantly, we have 3 wonderful administrative assistants who keep the building running, and make sure the real work is getting done. We also have a pretty awesome group of teachers and students as well!

Recently, I've been asked by several people to describe my first year as an administrator. As I thought more and more about the question, it became increasingly difficult to find the right words to describe the job of an administrator. Every day is an adventure for me. Every day is a learning opportunity for me. Every day I experience something I have never experienced before...

I am fortunate to have daily discussions with both colleagues and students about what we are doing to help improve student success. These discussions offer great opportunities for me to listen and learn, as well as to share my experiences that have helped shape me as an educator.

I greet every student every morning starting around 6:45 a.m. until around 7:25 a.m.. In my opinion, this is one of the most important and essential parts of my day. I don't get much "real" work done during this time, but the ability to say "good morning" to both students and parents on a daily basis is absolutely HUGE!

Once I do a quick check-in with teachers I normally get back to my office around 7:45 a.m. to actually start the day. Sometimes I come to find a clear desk, while other times I come to find a desk full of notes to return parent phone calls, and/or deal with disciplinary issues that happened between kids arriving to school and getting dismissed to class (you'd be surprised at what can happen in such a short time frame).

From around 7:45 a.m. until about 10:30 a.m. I do anything and everything... and I do mean anything that you could imagine or think of happening in a school. If there is any part of my day when I actually have a little control of what I do, it would be during this part of the day.

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is dedicated to lunch supervision. We have four lunch shifts with around 180-200 students per shift. Just like greeting the students in the morning, there is very little if any "real" work getting done during this time, but I would not trade this time for anything else. This time is used to interact and speak with kids on their turf during their social time; great discussions and valuable relationships are forged during this two hour block

Immediately following lunch supervision to the end of the day is probably the busiest time of the day for me. Upon returning to the office after lunch duty, I deal with anything and everything that happened during the two hour lunch window. Very rarely do I return to my office after lunch with a clear desk. On most occasions I spend the next two hours catching up and dealing with issues that arise before the end of the day.

From 2:40 p.m. until about 3:00 p.m. I supervise student dismissal. This is also another time of the day when no "real" work gets done, but I find it to be a crucial piece of the day that can't go undone.

3:00 p.m. until about 4:00 p.m. is having teacher conversations, returning parent phone calls, and trying to tie up any loose ends from the day.

On a side note, bathroom breaks are few and far between, and I eat my lunch every day with PBJHS students while they eat their lunch. 

My evenings are used to write and respond to emails, as well as to make parent phone calls. Additionally, there are evenings that require me to do sports and activities supervision. Most days end with me being both physically and mentally exhausted. 

Though the days are long and the job is difficult, I thoroughly enjoy and love my job. Despite the times of stress and frustration, I find my job to be quite rewarding. On a daily basis I get to work with great students and great colleagues, and because of that we are able to make a difference in the lives of our students. Being an administrator is about being a team, and at PBJHS we have a great team!

That is how I would describe my first year as an administrator...