As a new assistant principal, I discover each week something new..some new path that I am challenged to walk down . I taught for a number of years. Now, on a campus as a leader (well, as the assistant leader…), it amazes me how much of my walk is different. The shift of perception is not nearly as subtle as I had thought that it would be.
There was a parent conference this week that I was asked to sit in on. The student hasn’t returned assignments, hasn’t been completing homework, hasn’t been reading at home. He’s missed, apparently, all of his recess each day because of these choices.
The teacher path sees a fitting punishment. What else can a teacher do? You can’t send him to the office for not putting forth enough effort. Recess is a highlight, and by not doing what you’re supposed too, this is what you get. There are standards to learn, and grades that are needed.
The principal path see a 9 year old, with a bad home life, not doing busy work. A student who has no motivation to try, to work harder, to better himself…isn’t trying. Why would he? Dad’s not home to make him, his teachers are mean to him, why should he care?
It is such a thin line to walk. To balance the needs of the teacher to be in control and be the one who teachers responsibility and accountability…and to be the administrator and realize that not memorizing your multiplication facts isn’t going to make a student a failure for the rest of his life. I am faced with predicaments like this almost daily. How as an administrator do you handle the disgruntled employee who feels she can do your job better than you? Her vocal opinions are both negative adn dtrimental to the morale on campus, but do you address and alienate? or ignore and stew?
What about the parents who do not care at all balanced with the ones who care too much? We have a dad who wants additional work sent home so that he can help his daughter stay ahead. He also comes and eats lunch with her EVERY day, so that they can discuss and look over her morning work.
I am hoping that as the year goes by, I am able to find my steps long this path more confidently and more precisely. I’d love to hear from other principals and assistant principals and how they’re walking this path of leadership.