You Can Close the Door (Sometimes)

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by brad montgomery

Many school administrators (as all educators) feel an extreme time crunch and are

unsure of how to get done all the things that they need to get done in the day.  When I have suggested that blogging should be a part of the work that they do, not only because of the transparency that it

shows in their thought, but also because it helps them connect and reflect on their learning, many of them laugh at the idea.

“There is simply no time.”

To me, reflecting as an administrator is not an option.  I believe that doing it through a blog or openly is better as your learning can help others, but reflection is vital to learning.

The majority of schools that I have visited have “DEAR” time (Drop Everything and Read) embedded into their day, but how many embed time for kids to just write and reflect? So if reflection is an important part of what we do as educators then why do we have such a hard time to actually do it within the confines of our day?  Shouldn’t this be a part of what is happening in classrooms?

So what if once in awhile, or even scheduled in our day, an administrator actually closed the door, and just reflected.  If we told our teachers that we have to take time to connect and reflect our learning, would they see that as a negative, or would they see something that you are trying to model? Collaboration is essential but don’t we need to be able to bring our own thoughts and learning to the table?  Yes, administrators should be accessible and have a door open most of the time to be welcoming to their school community, but sometimes, isn’t it important to just take some time?

In the article, “Stop Being A People Pleaser”, the author discusses that our door does not always need to be open:

Many managers feel guilty about the fact that they’re in so many meetings so they develop the mindset that “I’m a bad manager if I don’t always keep my door open when I’m in my office.” But this can lead to every spare minute between appointments being filled by people walking through their door eager for attention. In turn, all of their own work needs to happen in the evenings and weekends, which then leads to a cycle of guilt about being a bad spouse, parent, or friend. If this sounds like you, the escape route is to change your standards for what it means to be a good manager. This then frees you to set better boundaries and get more work done at work. For instance your mindset could be: “Part of being a good manager is demonstrating the importance of focusing on high priority work. I can keep my door closed during

certain times of the week when I need to get things done without guilt.”

So I guess my question from the above quote is, is taking time to reflect high priority work? 


  1. Denise said:

    Agree whole heartedly; however, one thing I struggle with is the distraction that exists because of my office presence and being so much glass it is so hard to close off the work dropped by others and/or others droppng in.. Have to ponder more on the “how to” because I do relfect to and from work, but rarely record these reclections. Thanks for the prompting.

    March 11, 2013
  2. Rayna Gangi said:

    Having the time, not only to teach, but to even breathe after a day of teaching, is what we do to help schools and administrators. Teaching is one of, if not the, hardest jobs, and anything we can do to make the teaching and learning experience a positive one, is imperative as we look to the future, and try to maintain our present. Classroom management is integral and imperative for any set of strategies or curriculum to succeed. Without positive control of the classroom, many hours that could be spent “closing the door” and reading, absorbing, planning, etc. are lost. Repeated requests, referrals and then referrals to ISS are not necessary and can be changed, usually within one day. The amazing thing? Parents love it. We save teachers 5000 words a day. At least 5000! Add that up in a school year and you’ll have more than enough time to teach, and might not have to close the door.

    May 14, 2013

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