Monday, November 16, 2009

Principal for a day

Tomorrow I'll be a part of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District's annual Principal for a Day. I'll be shadowing a school principal for an entire day to gain some insight into what principals do in an average day. Because this is a school, I can't do the normal thing for me, which is to record video about the experience. I think there may be a moment or two where I may be able to record video where no children are present; but, we shall have to wait and see.

I'll be back here on the blog to write about the experience and what I have learned. Before going through it, however, I want to write down some of my preconceptions based on my own memories of the principals I've known over the years. Aftwerwards, I'll compare the list against what I witness.

  • Principals are administrators: For the most part, principals act very much like store managers. They are responsible for reporting and making sure that all required documentation gets done and turned in.
  • Principals are shepherds: Like shepherds, the principal has to be out amongst the students and teachers to help get everybody rounded up and in their pens on time.
  • Principals are team leaders: They have to have a game plan that they communicate to the staff. Then, they have to keep everybody motivated and on task to make sure they carry out the plan.
  • Principals acquire what teachers need: It is the principal's job to make sure that his staff has all the resources they need to carry out their job.
  • Principals are enforcers: Sometimes they have to be the bad guy to make sure everybody stays in line.
  • Principals are the public face of the campus: Just like the President, the Pope, a university president, or a CEO, the principal represents his/her campus.
Those are a few of my initial thoughts before actually experiencing the event. I may have a different view of principals due to my own experience growing up. As a small child, the principal is the authority of the school. He's like the Wizard of Oz. Only a few people talk to him; if he talks to you, it's a major event. In later years, the principal was the person to beware, especially when up to no good. Towards the end of my school experience, I realized that the principal was an ally. So long as I acted responsibly, I could get away with murder on campus. 

Going in, I already have a favorable opinion of the principal's job. Most of this is due to brief interactions with them at various points. I do not expect this will change, except that I'll have a much more firm basis for forming my opinions. I will let you know what happens.

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