The school year begins in about 3 weeks for us. I have spent the summer supposedly preparing myself for this new position: Associate Principal. I dutifully vacated my old post of Social Sciences Chair and attempted to leave the department and its offices more organized and user friendly than when I arrived--the old adage of: "Leave the World a Better Place Than When You Found it" was my mantra as I sifted through literally decades of old text books and files. I then began to make my new office my "home". Again I sifted through decades of books and files. At times I wondered if I was making the right decisions. After all, I've never done this job before so who am I to decide what stays and what goes? Slowly I gained confidence and books from the 1980s and 1990s on teaching methodologies were sent to the recycler, files were digitized, file cabinets removed. I'm not finished yet (10 boxes and counting still to review) but I feel much better about my "space".
So on to the real preparation:
I need to be sure to be ready to lead.
I need to be ready to build trust with my faculty, our students, our parents, our Board.
I need to be ready to make the tough decisions.
Communication seems like a great place to start but how much is too much? How can I be sure to reach everyone where they are? And how will I find time to do all that I want to do? My list is pretty ambitious, I think.
I committed myself in a letter that went out to our parents to Tweeting every week about what is happening on campus. I have yet to pick up one parent follower. So, do I not Tweet? No. I said I would so I will. Eventually parents will follow, right? In the mean time, my solutions is that every couple of weeks I will have to gather the "best of the best" and send out a parent update so that those not on Twitter can keep up with the happenings as well.
I have promised the faculty that they will be visited regularly on walk-throughs. They are very excited about this opportunity for coaching, growth, and quite frankly, visibility. There are some amazing things happening in our classrooms every day (I use the "our" in the royal sense here because I know that on every campus at any given moment there are amazing things happening). However, I am the ONLY one on campus that will be doing walk throughs. My solution here is to schedule regular walk-through time and create a fun sign for my door so that people know I am out and will be back later.
I want to send monthly emails to our faculty about articles and books and websites that I have found that I think might be of interest.
I want to keep up with my PLNs on Twitter.
I will be co-moderating a new chat starting this fall.
I need, for myself, to keep up this blog to allow for reflection.
The solution to these four PD time-grabbers: limit my on-line time, curate articles and sites in Live Binder and Delicious for future sharing, and don't update my blog the same day that I moderate the chat.
I believe that communication, really effective, timely, relevant communication will allow me to do my job more effectively, will allow my teachers to excel in their practice, will allow our students to exceed their expectations and will keep our parents and Board members happy.
Thus the question then is really, not what from my list of goals to keep and what to toss, a la the final exams I found from 1992, but rather, how to best structure my time to ensure that all of these goals get accomplished every week. That's the "jumping in" part. So here's to the deep end and swimming, rather than the shallow end and observing.
Photo from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swimming_pool_underwater_1.JPG