Great Principals Do This. I Don’t.

I have been contemplating (better word than thinking… thanks thesaurus) what it takes to be a good principal or school administrator.

After much thought, I have concluded that I am lacking in a most important area.

Principals must have certain traits to succeed at what can be a very challenging job.

The qualities that came to mind quickly included organizational skills, leadership, and time management. To be successful, one must make good use of time and be able to take care of details.

Then I thought about decisiveness, a sense of fairness, and the ability to control one’s temper (sometimes easier said than done).

As I continued mulling this topic over, it occurred to me that the qualities needed to lead a school were almost endless.I am Not Allowed to Wear Theme Ties.  Ever.

A great principal must have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and even more importantly how the staff and students should get there. Then have the ability to guide by encouragement and sometimes even a little arm-twisting.

Principals must always be believers, in themselves and the students, and certainly in what they want to accomplish.

Next, I thought they must be willing to work longer hours than most. This is really a requirement of all people who are really good at their occupations.

When working in schools one must be available to work days, some nights, occasional weekends, and certainly be flexible enough to change your personal plans on a moment’s notice.

While the job pays well, an administrator needs to work harder than the people around them. For those who are paid the most; a lot is expected.

If you are going to be a great principal, you need to accept responsibility for all of your decisions. And then be prepared to accept the responsibility for the decisions of others, whether good or bad (just a head ups… not usually good).

Just as important is being prepared to hand the credit to someone else when things go well and take the blame for almost anything or anybody when things go badly (and things always go badly, sooner or later).

All of the really good administrators that I have met are understanding, kind, enthusiastic, driven, and have a sense of humor.

The ability to laugh may be the most important skill of all. To be successful in education, one cannot take themselves too seriously (if you can’t laugh at yourself, someone else will).

Lastly, it occurred to me that most successful principals regularly exercise. You have to make your health a priority. A structured exercise program also helps with mental health.

I thought that I had come up with a pretty good list of qualities about what makes a great school administrator until… it was pointed out that I don’t wear theme ties.

No ties with drawings from small children. No ties with baseballs, soccer balls, or basketballs on them. No ties with pictures of crayons. No Bugs Bunny, SpongeBob, or Superman ties. And none with addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems on them.

Worse than this, I can never remember to wear the appropriate color on holidays. No red on Valentine’s Day, green on St. Patrick’s Day, or orange on Halloween.

A great principal should dress the part.

And I can’t even bring myself to wear a theme tie. I hate to admit this, but I don’t even own one. Not a single solitary theme tie. I am truly a failure.

Kids don’t care about organization, time management, vision, or work ethic. They want to see a colorful and cool tie. I am not fit to work in a school or be around children.

The state should repossess my administrative degree.

Worse than this, I don’t even have my school keys strapped to my belt. I am such a loser.

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School Makes Me Sleepy.

This Picture is Both Funny.... and Disturbing.It is that time of year. I am tired.

I first realized that I was tired when I wanted to eat dinner at 4:30 pm and then go directly to bed (I may well be morphing into my parents… another example of why I believe God has a sense of humor).

My second clue was when I woke up yesterday and felt like I would rather have a junior high study hall of 97 boys with ADHD and no homework while it is the last hour of the day after they all drank a five gallon bucket of soda and just recently broke up with their life long loves (of 4 days) then crawl out from under the covers.

If you have ever had a junior high study hall, or met a 12 year boy with a broken heart, you realize how serious of a funk that I am in.

It is February and just like every year, I am questioning my decision to go into education. It happens like clockwork about this time. Sometime between January 1st and Valentine’s Day, I begin to question my career choice.

I wonder if it is too late to change my major.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not the kids, or teachers, or anything about school… it is me.

We are in the middle of the school year and the end seems so far away. It is cold, wet, and windy outside and spring seems like it will never get here.

I think I would feel better if I could just see the sun for 4 minutes. I faintly remember the sun shining sometime around Halloween, but since then my only choices have been snow, rain, sleet, ice, wind, more wind, and lots of clouds.

It would be in my best interest to spend $600 dollars on a plane ticket, fly to Aruba, get out and walk around for 30 minutes in the sunshine and then fly right back. I would feel a lot better and that sunlight would get me through the hard times.

The beginning of school brings excitement and possibilities. The end of the school year is even more exciting and brings even larger possibilities. Those include in no particular order; no school, golf, vacation, and no school.

The middle of school just brings… grey. My yard, the sky, the streets, and my psyche.
But don’t worry about me. One of these days it will warm up to 60 degrees and everything will be right in the world and back to normal.

Until then I will trudge along and make the best of things.

I just need to focus on the good things happening at school.

Like it being too cold to go outside for recess and the smell of that stuff that janitors use to cover the smell of other bad stuff (why can’t scientist invent something that will make it smell like strawberries instead of smelling like feet?)

Soon spring will show up and that means junior high love will soon be in the air. And at the lockers, in classes, at lunch, on the bus, and everywhere else 12 year olds congregate.

Now that I think of it, maybe winter at school isn’t so bad.

P.S. This isn’t about me, it is about my wife. If you find any errors in grammar that is because she didn’t proof read it before she went to bed. Coincidently, that was around 4:30, right after dinner.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.