Over the summer I will be transitioning from my role as a school based administrator and moving into a system wide, central office position. After 14 years as a principal I feel up to the new challenge, however along with all the normal feelings associated with any significant job change comes the realization that my new assignment will take me one step further away from direct contact with kids. This is not settling well with me because the reason I entered the teaching profession in the first place was to work (directly) with kids and to make a difference in their lives. Many would say that district level administrators, far removed from daily classroom life, are no longer in the best position to make important decisions that directly affect the students they serve. In the past I’ve remained tight-lipped as those in the trenches complained about directives being forced on them by the higher-ups who “Don’t know what it’s like to teach anymore.”
This leaves me worried that it may be difficult to maintain a focus on student learning as I fall deeper into the role of Assistant Superintendent. What if the “administrative” stuff overwhelms me? What if I slowly but surely entrench myself under piles of paperwork in an office? What if I become exactly what those disgruntled were talking about not so long ago? That’s not going to happen to me! So, I’ve come up with a couple of lists that I will endeavor to live by in the coming months and years. The first is a list of the big ideas I hope to stay focused on and the second is a list of the little extra things I hope to do day in and day out.
List 1 – My Professional List
- Recruit and hire the most forward thinking, innovative teachers who will effectively engage todays students.
- Work with principals and teachers to develop collaborative and reflective instructional supervision and evaluation programs in order to build capacity in all teachers.
- Provide in-service to principals and teachers on ways to better engage today’s learners, focussing on the Framework for Student Learning.
- Model and demonstrate broad involvement and collective responsibility for student learning.
- When directing resources always consider the most at-risk students first.
List 2 – My Personal List
- Switch from a Dell to a MacBook Air because that’s what most students are using.
- Attend celebrations, assemblies, sporting events, concerts, and graduations.
- Conduct classroom walkthroughs in every school consistently throughout the year, talking to students about their learning.
- Consult with my two daughters (11 and 13) often and always.
- Keep Tweeting. Keep blogging.
I’m not sure exactly where the future will take me. I can only hope and pray that I leave this profession some day in the same way I entered it; making a difference in the lives of kids.