A couple of weeks ago, I saw an article posted on Facebook that was titled "Increasing Salaries So Teachers Don't Have To Become Principals" by Lee Hale. The point of the article wasn't to downplay the role of principals per se and really had more to do with how we show our value to the profession. That said, it did stick in my craw a little bit that if you are a good teacher, it is somehow "lesser" to have to become a principal.
Anyone who becomes a principal will tell you that the thing they miss most is being able to make the kind of connection with a learner that you make by having them in your classroom every day. To put my cards completely on the table, I miss that too. That's why this next year, I am bringing AP Psychology to my campus so that I can help co-design and teach the course with one of my facilitators. I miss that feeling of being in the classroom and getting to make that level of connection with my learners.
Classroom teaching is valuable work that is certainly under appreciated by so many. It is a calling to be able to do this kind of work day in and day out, and especially year after year. That said, school administration is a calling too and one that I personally have answered. I might not get to spend every day with the same learners, but I get to spend a lot of my days getting to know learners, helping them problem solve, and creating conditions that allow their facilitators to focus on them and not external factors. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a facilitator say something like, "I'm glad I don't have to do that" or "I'm glad I don't have to make that decision" or "I don't know how you handle the stress of this". The thing is though that I do that, or make that decision, or handle that stress because if I do it well, my educators don't have to. They can focus on the very important work of being in the moment in the classroom with their learners.
To anyone out there trying to make that decision or jump to administration, I would encourage you to think about what the value of an administrator is. Administrators help shape campus and district policies, help give academic and personal guidance, help coach educators, show up first when someone calls for help, shape educational initiatives and practices for a campus, shed a light on student achievement, set goals for improvement... the list goes on an on. All of it is valuable work that can shape the lives of learners and I am proud to do this work every day.
One of my favorite phrases is that "anything worth doing is worth doing well" and I apply that principle to my work. Every child deserves the best of all of us, and if I do my job well, they will get the best of "all of us" on my campus.