There are lots of good things about being a school administrator. The stress, the long hours, and the unhappy ____________ (fill in the blank with employees, staff, parents, community members, other community’s members, students, board members, the state board of education, and people at the post office who know everything we need to do to fix education).
In my estimation the good administrators are able to deal with the challenges I listed above and more importantly can focus on all of the good aspects of education. Such as: great students, parents, teachers, staff, and board members.
Granted, some days are easier than others, but by forging ahead, being prepared, keeping a positive attitude, staying organized, and always keeping your head on a swivel, it is possible to survive days, weeks, and in rare instances even years.
One of the absolute best things about being an administrator are kindergarten kids. They have the ability to keep teachers and administrators smiling on even the most challenging of days. They are without fail the happiest, most upbeat students in a school district.
Every year, they are truly excited about the school day, love their teacher (and sometimes even the principal), and certainly smile more than any other group.
I am sorry to report that they do have a dark side.
A few days ago, I was standing in the hallway, drinking my chocolate milk, and trying to mind my own business as the students arrived for what seemed like just another day. Unfortunately I got complacent and broke one of my own cardinal rules.
I didn’t have my head on a swivel. This should be lesson #1 in administrative classes. Always, and I mean always keep your head moving at least 360 degrees and be on the lookout for trouble within a radius of 2 miles.
As I stood in that hallway, it seemed like an ordinary day (this is a joke- there are no ordinary days in education). A large gang of kindergarteners made their way past me and most said “Good morning” or “Hi”, even the one I now refer to as “Touch Me Again and I Will Scream like a Little Girl.”
You see, on that particular day the last one in the group walked by and said “Hi Mr. Guy Who Always Wears a Tie” (I can’t list my real name because of the embarrassment and shame it would bring to my family and school district- actually, I just don’t want to be made fun of when I am in public).
Sadly, after he said hello, he then preceded to smack, tap, or touch me right in the chalk and erasers (I am still not sure what exactly happened because the shock, the horror, and the nightmare continue to haunt my dreams).
I nearly drowned in my own chocolate milk. The little guy didn’t even break stride, turn around, or even acknowledge that he had just broken 12 different schools rules, committed at least a misdemeanor, compromised my personal space, and left me a shamed and broken man.
I looked around for an administrator so that I could file a grievance, charges, or just have this young person hunted down, but as usual they are never around when you need one (also I joke- I am the administrator).
The only adults in the vicinity who could have been of assistance were two teachers and I noticed they weren’t much help. This occurred to me as I saw them doubled over and laughing hysterically (not with me, but at me).
That made three people doubled over in the hallway on that particular morning (for those of you keeping score at home).
As I reflect on this incident, I have learned two valuable lessons.
One, I must always be on the lookout for trouble (especially below me). And two, don’t expect people to rush to your defense when a kindergartner smacks you in the chalk and erasers.