I suppose at one time or another, most teachers consider making the move from classroom teacher to adminstrator. In the teaching profession, there are not many options for advancement and this is the logical next step. At one time, I thought I might want to be principal, and actually started working on my masters in adminstration. However, soon, I decided I really wasn't that dedicated to pursuing that option and stopped taking classes.
The classroom is where I belong, where I enjoy being, where my heart lies. Today, that was reinforced in my mind, easily. My principal was gone for the day. Usually the special education coordinator steps in his shoes when he is out of the building but with her gone today as well, he asked a few of the staff to cover various responsibilities for him. I was to be the go-to in the middle school if discipline or other issues arose. Sure, I told him, no problem.
I jokingly popped into the office when I came upstairs after first hour and asked the secretary how it was going. She promptly pointed me to student #1 who needed to be dealt with for something trivial. OK. Off to second hour. Soon, she was knocking, beckoning me to the office, where now 4 miscreants were in need of a tough hand. All stupid petty little things... out of seat without permission, sharpening a pencil, etc... then, the biggies -boys punching each other. Dealt with, check, dealt with, check... made a girl cry... YIKES!
Then lunchtime, boy crying because someone hit him and knocked off glasses. Track down all involved, get varying stories, try again.. closer and closer to truth and you circle around.
5th hour - young man knocks on door, telling me his misdeeds. I deal with his problems.
Between 5th and 6th hour, this one shoves that one, who falls into another one calling her a name. But who said what? and to who? and really, seriously????
What does it all mean?? We have issues. We have MANY issues.
Adminstrators have to walk a fine line, trying to find the middle ground of truth, punishment, fixing the problems behind what happened to keep it from happening again... what is the bottom line? We need behaviors to change. We need a safe school, and place where students feel comfortable and confident. Most of the 'stuff' that goes on is little piddly incidents that mean little in the entire scheme of life and school. Inevitable happenings when a bunch of hormone enraged adolescents are caged together, as spring crests on the horizon. Other incidents indicate bigger issues with classroom management problems by individual teachers that create no win situations for students.
Me, I just want to chew some butt, see some remorse and have a genuine "I won't do it again". *sigh* Sometimes, it is that easy. Other times, not so much. Why can't we all just get along???
I think all teachers should be required to do a stint as principal. Seeing the school from the other side really opens your eyes to the goings on:
- Students wandering the halls for no reason.
- Students sitting outside classroom doors.
- Students sent to make copies of busy work assignments.
- Students sent out of class to the office for minor issues instead of being taught.
Maybe if they/all teachers sat at the principal's desk once in a while, they might, just maybe, realize the big picture here. School is for educating, not for looking for ways to get kids in trouble or ways to keep them busy or quiet. We need to work to make our classrooms places of two way respect and honesty, our halls places of safe travel, and the school a place where learning prevails and the overwhelming mood is of happiness and contentment.