Several years ago, I interviewed for a division head job at my school and – I forget the exact question that led to my answer – I mentioned that I hoped that my new day-to-day would have me out and about in hallways and classrooms that I would barely need a desk. Someone’s reply, essentially, was “Good luck with that because it’s never going to happen.”
I didn’t get the job.
But the derision that met what I thought would be a critical component of my (division) headship upsets me even today because I don’t understand why it can’t be the case. Why does leadership have to equal more desk time?
In addition to my daily schedule, I’ve also been busy with other things. Yesterday, I stood in the cold morning and greeted students as they arrived in various cars and buses for the day. I’ve come to look forward to this part of the day because it provides a chance to put a friendly face on the very start of the day for students who may still be too tired, cold, or not ready to start the day and it also gives me face time with both the students in my class and those that I wouldn’t ordinarily interact with. A highlight of yesterday’s door duty was seeing our head of school finish a morning running workout with some fifth graders and surprising them with hot chocolate before they headed in to start the day. In a couple weeks, I’ll be up at our lower school building with five eighth graders opening car doors and helping our littlest students make their way into the building. Today I pinch-hit for a colleague and helped serve lunch. We have a wonderful — truly wonderful – food service program at the school and I genuinely felt privileged to serve students the food they wanted and needed to get through the rest of the day. Earlier in the week, I had lunch with Kindergarteners and first graders, and one of the K students knew I didn’t really know what I was doing during their lunch period (I normally eat with our upper school students) and led me by the hand to empty our trays and return to our seats.
I’m also playing bass in the seventh grade band.
I’m also assistant coaching sports that I would/could never play, but now looking forward to chances to play in our eighth grade vs. faculty games.
I’ve also been a part of a sort of dads club/homebrewing club that has formed that shows how community and culture can be developed in the most unlikely of situations.
I’m also… doing a lot of things that I would never have understood as critical parts of the school day, and because of them I’ve come to truly appreciate how there is so much more to do in schools than sit behind a desk and let things come to you.
The “I’m also…” things are too important to pass up.