I began my administrative career as a principal 9 years ago and can still recall how I felt on my very first day.
The sun was out. Not a cloud in the sky. I recall a slight breeze out of the southwest.
There wasn’t a student or teacher in sight (it was summer).
I walked into the office and plopped down at my desk.
And that was it.
I didn’t have a clue what to do next.
So, I just sat there.
In a puddle of my own sweat and fear.
In summary. New principal. Scared to death.
My gut told me I was unprepared and in way over my head.
My gut was right.
And a little nauseous.
I felt like two cats were wrestling in my lower abdomen.
As I look back, I realize how thankful I was for two things.
1.) What a lucky break I didn’t eat the night before. This eliminated the possibility of getting sick on the giant stack of paperwork which sat before me.
There’s really nothing more pathetic than a new principal hurling on his desk after 30 seconds into the job (the custodians would have never let me live this down).
2.) I was blessed with a secretary who recognized the “deer/principal caught in headlights look” I was wearing on my completely translucent face.
It’s a miracle she didn’t call the morgue on me.
I’m still not sure what kept me from sprinting out of the office and back to my life as a teacher (it might have been because I was concerned running might cause me to wet myself).
Luckily for me, I survived my first day and many more.
The one piece of advice that helped me through those early days came from a wise old administrator.
He looked at me with a slight hint of disgust in his eyes and said “Don’t be an idiot. Do what’s right for the kids because you are probably going to get fired anyway.”
So wise. So true.
The moral of this story: If you want to survive, find a good secretary and make decisions in the best interest of kids.
And if you remember nothing else from this blog, please know it’s probably not a good idea to eat Mexican food the night before you start a new job.