Today was one of those days…. I started the day with 58 emails in my inbox (a low number for me) and seemed to have an inordinate amount of complaints and issues arise throughout the day. I answered email after email for most of the day, communicating with concerned parents and teachers re:a variety of issues. I sent out at least 60 emails, maybe it was closer to 75 or 80, and at the end of the day my inbox still had 64 emails I need to respond to…. Yes I responded all day and the number grew!!! I was, for lack of a better analogy, chained to my desk for hours as I assisted many with their concerns. I definitely felt a bit more like a complaint department than an educator. Of course, all I really wanted today was to be out in the classrooms and with the teachers and the students – these moments are sometimes hard to come by as an administrator – the tyranny of the urgent replaces the important as small fires of concern need to be extinguished (when I want to be out there helping to light fires of desire to learn!)
Yet, even in the midst of the pressures associated with trying to help people find common ground when frustrated, there were many gifts. This morning as I stood in the office I got a running hug from a second grade student. Moments later I touched base with one of our amazing seniors, I told her that I was looking forward to receiving her petition for our school board. Hours later the student returned with a petition signed by over 70% of our student body – their request? To finally name a school mascot – I LOVE it!!! I was so excited to share this with our school board. I then found out another senior got his first college acceptance (it is still very early in the season). He was THRILLED and seeing the smile on his face, knowing how hard he works for himself is amazing. Two staff members shared personal issues that I said I understood – I appreciate being able to be an administrator that understands. They appreciate that I want them to take care of themselves and model a healthy work/ life balance. As the day wore on I got a bit mischievous My secretary and I have now worked together for almost four years – we are able to find a balance and rhythm that works well for the office and school. She is young, but mature, and has a lot of energy. She also happens to scare easily and I have been known to pull a prank or two (yes, a very mature school leader! I always wait until the kids and parents are gone!) Today I took the scraps from our hole puncher (okay, from SEVERAL hole punchers) and I slowly opened the window that is between our offices. I threw the scraps at her and yelled “It’s snowing!!!” and got a rather loud scream….. followed by laughter (thankfully). I am definitely NOT a stuffy boss. If a future prospective employer were to want a well-mannered straight laced person with business suits, high heels and poise, I would not be the person for the job. However, if they wanted someone honest, fun, hard-working and supportive, I am that person.
So, why do I love education so much, in spite of all the headaches that come along with it?
- hugs from students
- appreciative parents
- smiles when students learn something new
- chocolate handshakes and sticky fingerprints on my clothing
- responsible teens turning into amazing young adults
- smiles and laughter
- love of learning
- challenging myself and the students to grow
- supportive staff members
If it were not so late at night and I were not falling asleep from the day I could write many more reasons I love my job. I feel honored to work with our parents, students and teachers – even on the more challenging days – the challenges are often the best vehicles for my own growth and development as an administrator.
Today, 20 days ’til 40, I will continually seek balance in my position and when things get rough I will strive to remind myself that we are all human and ultimately all have the same desire at heart – to see our children happy, healthy, and succeeding,