The 50% Rule.

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50% Rule (or Off)...  Both are Good Deals.If you are a first year principal, my guess is that you are tired.

Why do I think this? Because I’m not a first year principal and I’m tired.

It is part of the job. Like the copying machine always being out of paper, the kids being jumpy during a full moon, a student almost “accidently” hitting you with a ball as you walk through the gym, and having someone complain about something 42 times a day (on a slow day).

There is some good news.

For most administrators, the school year is already about half over. You will make it to the end of the year.

At least, keep telling yourself that.

It is really hard to tell at this point (although I am pulling for you).

During my first year, I had a theory (actually I have thousands of theories… most of which make very little sense, even to me).

My theory during my first year was thousands of principals came before me and they survived.

Surely, I had to be as good as at least one (maybe even two) of them. So I set a goal.

Be a principal for 2 years.

A lofty goal at that point (and to people that knew me… an almost unreachable one).

But I survived. As so might you (again, a little early to tell).

Near the conclusion of my second year, I sat in my office and took a moment to reflect (keep in mind it was a very short moment… as I had a game to get to…as you have probably found out… supervision never stops).

It occurred to me that my second year was easier than the first.

Not easy.

Easier. Let’s not get crazy here.

And just like that, I had myself a new theory.

Every year you are a principal, it gets 50% easier. And for once I have found a theory that has held up over time.

Each school year gets a little more manageable (if you survive this one… and that is really up to the administrative gods at this point).

At least you have something to look forward to. Next year will be easier. About 50% easier if my theory holds.

And that’s the good news.

The bad news is the job of principal starts out on a difficulty scale of about 37,000 %.

Which means you (and the rest of us) are in way over our heads for the next few years.

And by few, I mean until you reach retirement.

If you make it. Really hard to tell at this point.

But I think you will.

At least that’s my theory (let’s hope this one also works… :) ).

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6 Responses to “The 50% Rule.”


  1. Charlie A. Roy
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 8:18 pm

    An interesting post. I’m in year 4 and my wife claims I seem more balanced, rested, and pleasant to be around. It could be the alcohol but perhaps it’s the job becoming more manageable. This is my second year at my current school and it has been remarkably more pleasant this year.


  2. Scott S. Floyd
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 8:29 pm

    Kind of makes me want to run out and get my admin cert. Okay, maybe not just yet. Thanks for the laugh.


  3. Pat
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 5:29 am

    I guess admin is a lot like special ed. :) I kept telling myself next year will be even better and easier because I will know the ropes and have more experience. Before I knew it, it was 25 years later and I was looking at retirement. I tried to look at each year as a new adventure (and it definitely was!) and I was the Indiana Jones of Special Ed. I don’t regret a minute of what I experienced!


  4. Bill Birdlebough
    on Jan 16th, 2009
    @ 8:33 am

    This maybe more universal than some may imagine. It works for teachers, doctors, engineers, and many other professions. The first year is all about survival, and from there it gets easier/better.


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