Working as a school counselor early in my career, I received a behind the scenes glimpse at what actually goes on in a school office. And, If you have not been a principal, or a school secretary, you have no idea what a principal or a school office has to deal with on a daily basis. I didn’t, but I quickly figured it out. Principals have to make decisions about situations in a snap. Sometimes, they have time to think about what they want to do and that can make the process even more agonizing. The internal debate can go on forever and even when they make the call, the decision continues to rage within their brain. After being a small part of those decisions for two years, I decided it was time for me to go back to the classroom.
My current principal, Mr. Tim Jordan, is an educator that I mentored when he began his teaching career. I have watched him progress from teacher to Math specialist, School Counselor and now my Principal. He has gone from someone who sought my advice to someone I seek advice from, frequently. Our history also makes me a little protective of him, even when I don't agree with him.
Principals have to consider all sides of the story, all consequences, all influences on future decisions, all the students and the parents they will impact. And, how will their teachers react to what policies they are making. Parents may disagree with a policy and leave their office and they may not see each other for a while, but when a principal and a teacher disagree they have to face each other in the hallway everyday. That can get tricky. Building relationships of trust is very important. Hopefully that can be achieved, sometimes it is not.
Some of us who are teachers have administration degrees and we catch ourselves saying, “Well, if I were in charge…” Well, we don’t know what we would do because we aren’t in charge and we don’t know all the details. Principals have to keep the details to themselves because they can not tell us the details that went into their decisions. And, if we were in their shoes we might have come to the same conclusion. We might not have, but we can’t ever know that.
Principals have taken the leap that most of us will not. There is crazy bravery there. The principal you are dealing with at the moment, may not be your cup of tea. But, I guarantee that in the moment they make a decision, even one you don't like, they are doing what they feel is best for kids. Maybe not what you think is best for kids, but you are not them.
These men and women are not “Yes” people. They do not make decisions because the decision will make them popular. Think about all the decisions they have had to make, this year in particular. Scary stuff. Sometimes everyone in the room is in agreement. But, a lot of the time, they are not. They do not seek to be put on a pedestal because that is not where they belong or where they want to be. As educators we are all in this together. Principals are dedicated to their craft and for that I have respect for the task they have undertaken.
So, for anyone reading this and considering this as a career path, I say to you, toughen up. You're going to need to have thick skin for this job.
So, here’s an enormous THANK YOU and HAPPY PRINCIPAL'S DAY to all these principals, some still working, some retired, that I have worked alongside.
Mr. Lowell McInturff, Wheaton
Mr. Bob Borman, Southwest
Mr. Jeff Swadley, Southwest
Mr. Mark Mayo, Southwest
Mr. Terry Winton, Exeter
Mr. Robert Taylor, Exeter
Mrs. Tina Nolan, Exeter
Mrs.Tamara Kester, Exeter
Mr. Tim Jordan, Exeter
Ms. Ashley Fly, Exeter
And, there’s one other that I want to pay tribute to… Mrs. Christy Hermansen, my sister!
HAPPY PRINCIPAL’S DAY!