Since I’m starting on this new journey, I thought it would be a good idea to write about how it all started.
First of all, I had no intentions of ever becoming an administrator. Dealing with 13 and 14 year olds was a lot easier than dealing with adults.
One day, however, about 5 years ago, I was in the front office when I heard my name being called by the principal of the school. She called me into her office and asked me to have a seat.
She asked me if I would be interested in filling in for the Student Advisor while she went on medical leave.
I almost said no, but purely out of curiosity, I accepted her offer.
So for the next two weeks, I was sitting in the administrator’s chair while a substitute took my class. I had to prepare lesson plans every day, which wasn’t too fun. My students got a little annoyed that I wasn’t teaching, and I understood that.
My duties were mainly just handling the small discipline issues and supervision before and after school.
What I found, however, was that I was good at the job. I made some mistakes along the way, but I was proud of my time in the big chair.
The best part of the job was talking to those students who were in trouble, and spending some time trying to get to the root of the problem. As a classroom teacher, I didn’t have that kind of time to spend with those at-risk kids.
I also found myself using my Spanish every day. At the time, none of the administrators at my school spoke Spanish, and I began to wonder what they did when they had to talk to a parent who didn’t speak English. Being able to communicate directly with the parent in their language was so appreciated by the parents. I believe that every school should have at least one administrator who speaks the language of the dominant sub culture of the school, but that’s for another post.
After my stint as a substitute administrator was over, I convinced my wife to let me spend the money to get my administrative credential. It turned out to be a little over $10,000 with at the time we had in savings. (Asking her now would be a different story altogether.)
I don’t know why my principal asked me to be the substitute administrator that day. I was probably the only teacher in the office at the time, but whatever the reason, those two weeks changed the direction of my life.
I spend the next few years applying, interviewing, and getting rejection letters for various administration positions that came available. It became a little disillusioning after a while, but with the support of my wife, I kept on applying.
I offered to substitute as an administrator at two schools while I was on vacation. I did this to not only get my name out there, but to also learn more about what the job entails. Each time I did this, I was reminded of why I should continue pursuing this goal of administration.
I found out real fast that politics plays a big part in the hiring process. Many of the people hired for the open positions were friends of friends of the principal. I guess I was a little too naïve, but I kept on applying, and finally this last month, a principal in the district decided to take a chance on this old teacher.
It was a nice feeling to be given the “Master” key to the school by the principal’s secretary.
It turns out that 29 people applied for the job. I felt like a winner. It felt great. Pretty cool. I promised myself that I was not going to let this principal down. He would not regret hiring me. I’m going to keep that promise. I’ll include my experiences – both positive and negative in this blog.
I know I’m going to learn a lot before I can consider myself a master at school administration, but it’s going to great journey.
I’d like to start off by asking this question of admin bloggers out there: What is the best advice you could offer a new school administrator?
I would appreciate any help you can offer.
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Until next time,
See you soon,