As a school administrator I have lots of challenges.
Which tie to wear.
How to keep lunch off my tie.
Getting the stain off my tie after lunch.
It never ends.
Tomorrow is another day and I will need another tie (today’s has something on it).
And if history tells us anything, it’s very likely I’ll be eating lunch.
It’s a vicious cycle.
But you will be glad to know this isn’t my biggest challenge.
There’s one thing that makes me more nervous than eating spaghetti in the cafeteria wearing a white tie while sitting between two 5th graders with sharp elbows and attention problems.
It’s hiring people.
Any time you have an opening within your staff, it’s an opportunity for your school to get better.
This isn’t to say whoever is leaving the position is bad, but as an administrator, the goal is to find someone who is at least a little better.
Because if you think about it, none of us are looking to take a giant step backward (if you are… you might be in the wrong profession).
But this is where it gets tricky.
Interviewing isn’t a science, it’s an art.
Which is a nice way of saying, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t (feel free to quote me on this).
This isn’t what makes me nervous. I know I’m not going to hit a home run on every new hire (I think I just invented a baseball analogy).
The mediocre hires don’t worry me as much as the pretty good hires.
This is because a brand new pretty good teacher may be employed by the district for the next 35 years (a mediocre one hopefully won’t).
That’s three and a half decades.
That’s 8.75 Presidents.
Or think of it this way. In 35 years, I will be 73 (if I’m lucky).
Even more disturbing, 35 years ago it was 1976. I was in the 4th grade (for the first and only time… as far as you know).
This means a teacher who was hired during my 4th grade year is still teaching.
Meanwhile the world has changed ever so slightly (you’ve probably heard of the internet… since you are on it right now).
But have they?
I would say most have changed, but the ability to be progressive in your career is a hard thing to project in a 30 minute interview.
To sum up, a new teacher who is hired this year could be with the school district for a very long time (check my math… but I’m guessing until approximately 2046).
And that makes me nervous.
Not nervous enough to skip lunch, but nervous.