THERE IS NO TRAINING FOR WHAT TO EXPECT YOUR FIRST YEAR AS PRINCIPAL, BUT I THINK THAT’S ON PURPOSE.
Once the school year prior to my first official principal role was complete, except for a couple of introductory meetings, I was pretty much left to myself as I officially began the transition to my new school district. I found myself spending a lot of time in my new office, taking walks around the school, starting (trying) to figure things out.
There was only one strange event that occurred during the final weeks of the previous school year, when the assistant superintendent – his name was Stan – in charge of my hiring brought me to the building while school was still in session. It was late May. He wanted to introduce me to the teachers and walk me around the building for a tour. The final stop of that building tour was the main office… where the outgoing principal was cleaning out her office.
Stan thought it would be a good idea for the two of us to sit down and talk about the school, kind of a “transition meeting.”
To prepare me. The one thing he didn’t tell me was that it was not her decision to leave. Talk about awkward. Needless to say, she was not happy to see me and I tried to get out of there as soon as I could. There was no need in making her any more uncomfortable than she already was. I actually started to feel bad for being the new principal!
Remember when I said there was no real preparation for your first year on the job? Well, this was one leadership lesson I learned rather quickly – never put anyone in a position that is going to make them feel awkward and unprepared,and then leave them for the wolves, so to speak. Because that’s what it felt like – for me and for her. I don’t think anyone should have allowed this principal to have to sit down across from me. She had been asked to leave, for crying out loud! She didn’t want to see my happy, smiling face. I was excited to have my first principal job! I wanted to be happy, and she was, understandably so, not; it was not very fair of them to put her in that position.
In whatever circumstances I find myself when dealing with other people, I always try and remember that I don’t know what they are going through. I treat people as I want to be treated, like they are the only ones in the room. People want and deserve to feel valued. It is the only one thing we really have control over, and it is our responsibility, as good human beings, to make sure when someone is in our presence, that they have our full attention. As cliche as this sounds, it is true and sound advice.
She (my best friend) makes me feel very happy and if you didn’t make me feel so safe then I wouldn’t have introduced myself and I wouldn’t have met her. I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me when I was in elementary, you made it feel like home when where I lived didn’t exactly feel like it. I went through a lot when I was younger and every morning when I woke up I was looking forward to going to school because I saw you every single day, even if you didn’t see me. Thank you for being the best school dad that anyone will and has ever had.