Educational Leadership can be a rough road, especially if you are a principal in a school. The demands are, more often than not, enough to keep you jumping throughout the day. You can jump form kids fighting on the playground to teachers asking you to cover a class to parents demanding that you explain the rationale of something in your school. Potentially your whole day can be spent jumping from fire to fire. I’m fairly certain that if you were to corner those principals and get them to think about why they entered the field, not one of them would of said they wanted the cacophony of the principalship. They ALL got in there to make a difference to kids. They didn’t get into the principalship for the “glory”, they got in to affect the culture and learning in a school so that the teachers could best impact kids. Every principal I know is kid centered – they just sometimes don’t get time to show it.
On top of all the demands of a dynamic environment, we now place a new pressure on principals. We expect them to remember what they got into leadership for and be the lead learner in the school. That’s a lot to throw on a person as busy as a principal. Where 10 years ago we asked our principals to manage the 3Bs; buses, bells and budgets, we now expect so much more. Research tells us that great schools are championed by leaders who remember the root “why” for the school. Leaders who remember that the job of the school is to support the growth of students to become capable, contributing members of society.
Here’s the thing. Every principal wants that too! Every principal wants to help teachers do the very best for kids in their classrooms. There are days, however, where the best a school leader can do is shelter the teachers from the other noise so that they can spend time designing great lessons. That’s frustrating.
So here’s a tip you should think about – what if you tried to schedule your day a little different. What if you made a commitment to support teachers in their growth and . . . .you scheduled it! What if you took a mere 20 percent of your time and scheduled in teacher talks or classrooms visits? Just like you were teaching as part of your assignment, what if you did not allow any disruptions unless it was a fire? Imagine how empowering that would be to your staff . . .and to you! That’s the reason you got into the job!
Here’s another thought. What if you used 10% of your day and used it for your own growth? What if you met with your admin team to talk direction, did a quick article read or held a PLC of your own for admin? Wouldn’t that just fill your cup? I know it would fill mine. Like the Idea? Schedule it – and close your door! Your learning will not only drive the learning of the school, your learning acts as an example to those around you – improvement and learning matter! By showing your staff this, and even committing to telling them what you are doing and reading, you affect the culture in the school!
Now, I know that may seem incredibly hard in your complex job but it is certainly something you should think about. Great institutions are build around improvement and innovation, and that takes commitment and time. It needs to be important enough to schedule.The 30% you’ve scheduled in your day to improve the quality of learning kids get, still allows you 70% of your day to deal with the day-to-day, and hopefully that’s enough. Put what’s important in your daytimer – schedule it if it matters.
Keep on learning!