Helpful hints, position essays, and useless blather from the Assistant Principal of a high school in Southern California. Posts here do not necessarily reflect the positions or views of the school or district with which he is employed.
From the Desk of
Name: Q6 From: Southern California, United States About me:
You've got to admire gardeners, doctors, and anyone else whose jobs involve some type of waiting. Greenskeepers get everything just so, then they wait for growth. Doctors do their thing, then wait for the healing to happen. I suppose that chefs need to let things bake, that NASCAR crew chiefs need to wait for laps to pass before the next pit stop, and that parents sometimes just have to let events occur without conrolling it all. Waiting is a part of it--a very healthy part of it all.
When I look at the school's calendar, I see a series of events that have yet to occur. I look at the big picture and see a large Rube Goldberg machine that needs to be left to do it's thing. It's not for me to micro-manage, it's not for me to get in the way of. My teachers know what they're doing; the students know what is expected of them; the events are planned and waiting to be executed. At some point, I'm comfortable sitting back and watching the whole thing happen. I step in only when necessary, and as it unfolds I'm in the background, like a movie director--never on camera, but watching it unfold and stepping in to tweak it as necessary.
When the school principal sees the school calendar, she sees a big toy to play with. She throws it around, moves it this way and that, and tries to change it for maximum efficiency. It's like a prototype car that never gets into production because it's too busy being played with, changed, and modified. It's a game of Tetris, where all the little spaces need to be filled. It's never done, and keeps having to stop so that someone can do something else to it. It never gets its momentum. It never gets a chance to perform.
As we get closer to the end of the school year, this is still happening. With the STAR tests looming (followed by two weeks of AP tests), there are still things being added to the calendar. There's an assembly on dating abuse; there's another college night; now there's a barbecue to celebrate a CDS honor nobody really cared about to begin with. There's always something being added to the calendar as an "event." What seems to be missing is the realization that on a day when there are no "events," classes are being taught. With all the special events--some taking away from class time teachers and students desperately need as we come closer and closer to final exams--it's a wonder that our test scores, API, and college entrance rates are as good as they are.
I have a favorite saying these days when people ask me what's been going on at work. I list off a few of the "events," and I end it with " . . . and occasionally, when there's time, we teach some classes."
*Another movie reference. If you didn't make the mistake of seeing Executive Decision, this line is uttered twice to Kurt Russell as he frantically tries to figure out what he has forgotten to do in the cockpit, only to reminded that there is nothing left to do.