I recently had the opportunity to serve as a principal for a day at a neighboring intermediate school.
I am currently the assistant principal of a middle school in the same district, but for one day, I was asked to substitute for the administration of another school. Their admin team was on a leadership retreat for that day.
I saw it as an honor to be asked to be the administrator for a day, and I must admit, it felt good to sit in the principal’s chair in the principal’s office.
The teachers and office staff were very nice to me, and it was a good day.
As I sat in the principal’s chair, however, I looked around at his office, and noticed something that had a profound effect on me. It actually changed my life.
I noticed his desk, his book case, his walls, his floor, his office.
The office I was sitting in was organized and neat and in order and clear of clutter.
I told myself, “This looks like a principal’s office.”
Then I said to myself, “My office doesn’t look like this.”
My office isn’t messy. It’s just not organized. There is no obvious order to how things are arranged.
In my office, I have piles of paper in several locations. I have my bookshelf filled with books and binders and office supplies. My walls are covered with different sheets of paper that have useful information, but organized in no particular order.
I shook my head when I realized how I was shooting myself in the foot every day back at my school.
I’ve learned over the last few years, that if I want to be the boss ( in this case, a principal), I have to care like the boss. That is why I work on building relationships, connecting with parents and community members, and focusing on what my principal focuses on. My goal, as with most assistant principals, is to someday remove the adjective, “assistant” from my title.
What I realized was that I was missing an important part of this concept. I learned that if I want to be a principal, I need to care enough to have an office that looks like the office of a principal.
An office can tell a lot about a person. Based on the principal’s office where I spent a day, I got a pretty good image of the man who normally sits in that chair. He is a leader who is organized and has a handle on things.
I wonder what image people create of me when they walked into my office?
It caused me to change my life.
I remember walking back into my office the following day and taking a look around. I told myself, “This is not the office of a principal.”
I immediately began clearing things off my desk, organizing my bookshelf, an removing unnecessary papers from my wall.
My office has a voice. It speaks.
I want my office to say good things about me.
What does your office say about you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share your comments below.
Until next time, here’s to your journey toward School Administration Mastery!