Ok, it has been just over a month since I started this admin gig, and moved from my classroom to my office. I’ve learned some things, some of them serious, some of them snarky. For whatever it is worth, my advice to date:
- Do whatever it takes to be in a really good mood BEFORE you check your e-mail for the first time each day. For me, this means a big vanilla latte, country music in the car, and greeting our grade one and two students as they come in from the playground.
- Greet students by name every time you see them. Not only does this delight them, it impresses the bejebus out of parents.
- While you’re at it, greet parents by name, too. Ask about their weekend, their trip, the new baby.
- Visit the classrooms as often as possible, but visit the gym, the music room, the library, the art room, too. Specialist teachers do amazing things with hundreds of children, every day.
- Even if they went to kindergarten at your school, grade one students will get lost in the hallways. Kindergarten students are constantly supervised, grade twos know their way around, but grade ones get lost. Learn to recognize a child who is lost but doesn’t want to admit it.
- Go outside. Go outside with big kids and little kids and in-between kids, with teachers and aides and volunteers. Learn what recess looks like, which playground equipment is the source of the most injuries, which areas of the yard can’t be seen from the benches where supervisors tend to sit. Move the benches.
- No meeting is so important that a child who needs a hug can’t interrupt you. Even the Head of School/the Superintendant/the Board Chairperson will NOT get mad if you pause to accept a hug.
- Keep crayons, paper, playdough, some stuffed animals, and a puzzle or two in your office.
- Aim for inbox zero once a week, and for inbox twenty before you go home at the end of the day.
- Go HOME at the end of the day. Everything and everyone will still be there tomorrow. You are not on-call 24/7. Go home, sit in a chair, watch the clouds go by.
You deserve it.