Westward Movement

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forgive the long time between posts, and pardon the ramble. I promised, and have not delivered, but now I deliver at the end of a very long day with far too little energy. 

Being principal is quite different from being in the classroom. I don't believe I work any harder, but what I do is often far from my comfort zone, and is rarely uninterrupted. In mid word, I'll stop to take care of something that can't wait; a sandwich lasts several hours, and a portion eventually gets tossed (a very good diet, I must say); multitasking is a given; and breaks are unheard of. 

As I finish week four, I've learned more about building codes, construction planning requirements, fire marshals and bodies per square inch. I'm still not completely sure where everyone is going to be come August 12 ... yes, August 12. Just over two weeks away. But I am confident - because I must be and because I just am. These things are not the norm ... but it will never be this unfamiliar. I say to my AP, "it will never be harder," and we both laugh - realizing it's true but still hyperventilating a bit. 

I'm learning to work a budget - something classroom teachers rarely, if ever, have a chance to oversee or even truly participate in. Always a challenge. What a school wants and needs is far outside the available finances. I have lots of ideas for finding financial support, but no time to act on a one. Next year? 

Today I sat in our math professional development, and jumped in and out of the room for phone calls and brief meetings, even though I wanted to just be a learner. I remember being so annoyed when my administrators would do the same thing during a meeting, training, event they'd asked us all to be a part of. I offer an apology!!! I get it.

Tomorrow, I begin my first professional development with our new teachers. Just two days, but how I've stressed that it be organized, engaging, and not a wasted moment. 

I will never forget what it means to be a classroom teacher, so I am a fierce advocate for ensuring what happens in the classroom is directed toward children, but fair to teachers. I've read time and time again, heard over and over, and believe without an ounce of doubt, that what makes a leader truly strong is time spent in the shoes of those she leads. 

Stay tuned! I'll try to get back in a week. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Comfort Zone Attack - week 1

One thought I've had as I make this career transition is that I won't have the same close bonds with children I've had for so many years. That piece makes me a little sad, and also leads me to say I won't have the same sort of stories to share. 

After so many years in the classroom teaching, I rarely thought about what I needed to do on a daily basis - it was second nature. This is a whole different ballgame - and staff and students have not yet arrived! I know the learning curve is steep, and I also know that several months from now I'll look back at these words and be amazed by what I have learned. What's the point of doing anything if you're not learning!? That's an easy thing for me to say at 9:45pm - I may have a different sentiment at 5am!

Last Monday was my first day on the job. The week was filled with making decisions about budget and building - things that classroom teachers rarely have a say in. Arts in Action is expanding, and the logistics of determining which space to use, where to place staff, etc., are hardly issues I assumed I'd be facing as I completed my admin program. Decisions have been made, though, and tomorrow I'll start to dig into areas a bit more familiar. There is so much, but how I handle it all will send a very strong message. Thus, while work must get done, so must living a good life, getting rest, spending time with those I love. And so I shall ... do both. One will likely win for a bit. :o)

Sweet dreams.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 11 marked my last day as a classroom teacher. (A few folks have insinuated I might return to the classroom, but after 24 years, I think it's time to move into the next phase of my career in education). As many of you know, I just completed my administrative credential and masters in school leadership. I've been hired as the principal of Arts in Action Charter School in East Los Angeles, California. July 1 I will take on this new challenge. While I don't anticipate being able to keep up with a daily or even every few days blog, I aim to report on a weekly basis the ups, downs, and sideways of school leadership. At times, these reports will be mighty short, and at other times more detailed. I invite you to follow along, and look forward to sharing my journey.