Looking out over our entire school, as they actively listened to our opening guest speaker, I thought about the differences between starting the year as a teacher and as an administrator.
As a teacher, I often came in over the summer and prepared for the upcoming year. This would happen the last two weeks of August as I set up my classroom, went over the class lists and prepared the for the first week of school. I love this time, as it was slow and I could really get a lot of stuff done without the constant interuptions, meetings and general busy-ness of the school day with students.
Now, as an administrator, the last two weeks of August went flying past, with parent and student meetings, organising rooms, class lists, courses, teacher meetings, admin meetings. Not as much fun, but still an adventure. The real excitement, however, came when school actually started. As I met with the returning students in the halls and heard about their summer, how they matured and wouldn’t have the same issues as the previous year, were prepared to move forward and do their very best this school year (as they knew it was an extremely important year for them, whichever grade their were in), I was amazed how readily they accepted me as their vice-principal. And this year, I was no longer the new guy, as we have had another change on our team. I felt that I was ready for the school year.
Grade assemblies, wandering the halls, talking to the students, trying to help in anyway that I could; this was probably the best first two weeks of school I could have hoped for. There was a glimmer of optimism, potential opportunities and excitement of the new year that I haven’t seen in schools for some time. Teachers were actively engaging their students in their courses and subject areas; students were planning out their year; everyone seemed rested and ready.
As I looked across the large gym at our entire school, as they listened with amazing concentration to our guest speaker, I couldn’t help but feel that this year, with all the issues and problems and discipline and celebrations that were bound to happen, would be one of the best in all my years in education….then again, I think I feel that every time the school year starts up. It is the potential of what might be. And this year, that ‘might be’ is still unknown.