(To best understand this entry you must know this background fact: our school has four administrators, two Principals and two Assistant Principals, three of whom are new to the school this year. I am the only administrator not voted off the island, the only returning member of the last four years' administrative team.)
We (the administration) sat down for 90 minutes today with a bunch of students in what was to be a "forum discussion" about the state of the school. Our new principal has held such discussions at her previous schools and found them very enlightening. Me, I think it was a subtle attempt to gauge the teachers' behavior toward the upcoming WASC visitation through the students' eyes, but in either case the meeting was going to be productive.
Here's where it got a little wonky for me, though: on certain topics--things like dress code enforcement, administrative visits to the classrooms, discipline procedures, and other administrative interferences in the their lives--the students repeated the same comment a few times: "The old administration didn't do that, but the new administration does." How do I take that? I'm a member of both groups, and I'm having a hard time reconciling the comment in my particular situation. Truth be told, it's a little disconcerting to be dissed and praised in the same sentence.
And it's not just the students. Parents have made the comment. Teachers have made the comment. Even the local newspaper, which recently ran an article about how our dress code enforcement has become rewardingly Draconian this year, made it sound like the outgoing administration sat on its hands for four years. Does this mean that because the names changed on three doors I am now better at my job? Does it mean that the three former door names were holding me back? Or is it just that I was not then--and am not now--a dominant force in either equation?
Given my professional life over the last decade, it's amazing that I don't have a raging alcoholism problem by now.