Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Smile While Drowning – My First Day as Administrator – Bring it On!

What a week!

My first week as an administrator after 23 years as a classroom teacher was a week I will never forget.

I thought I was ready.

I thought I had everything under control.

I thought I had planned for every contingency.

I was wrong.

I arrived at my school at 7:45 a.m., which was 15 minutes later than I was planning for. The traffic was around the school was unbelievably congested on the first day.

I walked into my office and turned on the computer.

In my position, I am primarily in charge of student schedules. I will also be handling discipline and overseeing our English-Learners program, but my job responsibilities, especially in the beginning of the year, are student schedules.

The students began arriving at about 8:15 a.m., and they went to the gym to find out their first period class where they would receive their class schedule.

At about 8:30, it began.

My office started to fill up with students who couldn’t find their names on the list and parents who were registering their child on the first day and teachers who were requesting changes to their rosters, and there I was doing my best to seem in control.

It was rough.

I was stuck in front of that computer until 5:00 p.m.

I ate my lunch at 3:00 – actually, I heated up my lunch at three, then brought it to my desk so I could keep working while I ate.

I did my best to keep my smile, especially in front of the parents, but looking back at that day, I realized that I was barely keeping my head above water. Now that I have some time to think about it, I realize that there were a few factors that made my first day as an administrator one that I would soon like to forget.

1. I was still learning the computer program.

2. I had to work fast, because there was a line of people waiting for my attention. I couldn’t stop to organize or even to take a break.

3. The printer had a two-minute delay after I hit the print button. This was amazingly frustrating. Once I fixed a student’s schedule, I had to tell them to wait outside so I could take the next person in line. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really slowed things down.

Thankfully, the assistant principal took some of my “clients” and adjusted their schedules. This helped a lot.

As I was driving home that day, I was regretting my decision to leave the classroom. It was one of those what-were-you-thinking moments. It was a bit depressing.

I woke up the next morning not wanting to go to school.

I knew that it would be more of the same, and I knew I had a long list of schedule-related issues that I would have to deal with.

I knew that there would be another line of parents who were going to want me to fix their child’s schedule.

I wasn’t looking forward to it.

That’s when I had a realization.

There may have been 25-30 schedules that had to be fixed, but there were over 1,100 that were right.

It was a small point of fact, but it was enough to lift my spirits.

On top of that, I received an email from a good friend that was encouraging, and she didn’t even know what kind of day I had. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

I made a decision as I drove into work that morning that I was going to have a great day.

I expected it to be busy, but I wasn’t going to let it beat me.

I made a decision to be positive and smile, even if I was drowning in work.

It worked.

That second day was just as busy as the first day, and I left there at 5:00 again, but I was smiling. I was in control.

Friday, the third day, was even better. I actually left at about 4:15 p.m., and I knew that I was going to be alright in my new position.

Attitude is everything. How you approach the day will determine how your day will be.

With the first week as administrator under my belt, I’m feeling great!

I know there are going to be other rough times ahead, but all I have to say to that is…

Bring it on!





  1. August 14, 2011    

    Honesty and perspective. Best to you as you stay the course.

  2. Sam's Gravatar Sam
    August 14, 2011    

    Thanks Tom. Its going to be a great year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,552 other subscribers

Teach Happier

Teach Happier - 21 stress-reducing, joy-inspiring, burnout-avoiding strategies to help teachers love their jobs and have more success in the classroom - Sam Rangel