March 7, 2014

Amongst The People......

So it's Parent/Teacher Conference night and I have decided to move myself out into the main entryway of our school so that I can meet more parents and say "Hi" to the students that tag along, all to avoid the isolation of my office.  Yeah, this could be one of those nights when I could catch up on things if I  chose to hide in my office, but I really prefer to be out here in the mix and meeting all of the families that stop by.  Tonight I will be joined by the District's School Board President as we attempt to inform parents of our upcoming operating referendum.

As I sit out here and see the importance of my being out "amongst the people," I start to ponder how some administrators don't see the importance of that day in and day out in our role within the school.  Although maybe they know the importance, they just can't find a way or the time to make it happen.  I know I can find myself feeling trapped in my office and I absolutely feel like I could and should be in classrooms more.  But, I do feel slightly consoled when staff tell me they see more than they have seen other administrators in the past.  I'm not trying to make a comparison to anyone, I still weigh my effectiveness by the growth of our students and my staff's feelings on our building climate. 

It's pretty easy for an administrator to get locked away into their office, handling all the management pieces of the job that can easily fill a day.  Paperwork, budgeting, parent contact, discipline, and e-mail can all be done from a desk, eliminating your time to get into classrooms to see kids and teachers in action, allowing you to interact and build relationships with those most important people in your building.  This is easier said than done.  I try to make it a daily goal to get out amongst the students and staff, in the classrooms, where the learning takes place.  I have found a way to make it a little easier.  The cart in the photo allows me to take my office with me (except my phone) and see what is taking place in classrooms, halls and other spaces while keeping some of those managerial tasks close at hand.  This tool will help me with our new online observation tool, it will help me be quickly accessible when I am not in my office, and it will help me understand our students and staff by not just hearing about what is taking place in our classrooms, but participating in it as well.

If you are an administrator, find a way to take those management tasks with you and get out amongst the people.  This little cart was well worth the money I spent on it.

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