Since I’ve spent all of two and a half weeks in my new role as building administrator, I feel I am now imminently qualified (insert sarcastic tone) to post my thoughts about how different my new role is compared to my life as a teacher/coach. By no means is this a complete list, as much as it is a quick observation of just how much my life has taken a new and interesting turn.
Difference #1 – Go with the flow. I fully admit that I am a Type A-anal retentive-super organized-to do list-planner. There should be a support group for people like me. That served me well for my career in the classroom. Every lesson of every day was planned, rehearsed, and organized. I knew what my kids would be doing from the minute they walked in to the minute they left.
That kind of planning does me absolutely no good in my job now. Oh sure, I go to work with an idea of things I want to get done that day. I may even have a meeting on my calendar. But most days, the “plan” should only take me about an hour to get done. My first few days I had the dreadful feeling of I only have 2 things on my to-do list, what am I going to do all day? I soon realized I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to fill my time at work. I just had to realize I couldn’t plan for it ahead of time.
Difference #2 – Where does the time go? On my first full day of school with all of the students and teachers there, I had something on my to-do list that normally would have taken me about 20 minutes to do. I sat down in my office at 8:30 to get started. Then the rush started: phone calls, student discipline, questions from teachers, hallway supervision, lunch duty, “help, I can’t open my locker” problems, emails from colleagues, more phone calls, classroom emergencies, job-embedded PD with teachers, a visit from the school SRO…and the next thing I knew, the clock said 2:00 pm.
This type of day is becoming my new normal. I’ve asked myself the question, what was I doing? more times in the last two weeks than I ever have in my life. There is always something that needs to be done right away. There is always someplace in the school I should be (and would rather be) than my office. There is always someone who needs my attention. Which means, there is never enough time in the day to get it all done.
Difference #3 – My Weekend. For the past 15 years as a classroom teacher and football coach, my fall weekends looked something like this: Friday night get home around midnight from the football game while everyone in my house is asleep; wake up Saturday morning for film study while everyone is still asleep; get home around noon in a cranky mood (regardless of whether we won or lost); spend from noon Saturday to noon Sunday with “family time” (which consisted of me being drug around running errands while all my body wanted to do was nap); Sunday afternoons were spent grading papers OR watching film OR lesson planning for Monday OR creating a game plan for our next opponent OR … Even when I was home physically, I wasn’t home mentally. We always joked that my wife was a “football widow”. I realize now she wasn’t joking.
My first weekend as a building administrator consisted of taking my daughter to her first Chiefs preseason game on Friday night, fixing breakfast for my kids on Saturday morning, going for a run/bike ride with the family, having a BBQ, teaching my son to catch a football, and basically being the husband and father I always thought I was being. Sunday afternoons were the biggest difference. It was tough to shake the I’m forgetting to do something feeling because I was so used to preparing for Monday. Now, this is not meant to mean that life as an administrator is easier than life as a teacher/coach. Far from it. The hours definitely aren’t any shorter. They’re just different; way different.
As different as these first few weeks have been for me, I can say that I absolutely love every minute of it. My time in the classroom and on the football field was a very special time in my life that I will always hold close to my heart. But I’m learning that change is good and there has never been a bigger change in my life than what I’ve experienced over the first month on the job as a building administrator.