I’ve been an administrator in my home district for three years now and 99% of the time I find it to be a huge advantage. It’s been my sense that it actually provides me with a bit more credibility, sort of a “she’s one of us” boost. Since I’m going to work every day trying to make a difference, it’s extremely rewarding to me that it also benefits my own kid, along with my nephews and niece, and the children of my friends. G-Town means a lot to me and if I succeed or fail professionally, in many ways, it’s my personal success or failure as well.
Today I sat in a meeting with four parents and two teachers. I was there as the principal but the situation we were discussing also involved my son and my nephews. It involved my sister in law, two other moms I’ve known for many years, and one mom I’ve not met before. It involved two teachers whom I hold in very high regard.
I’ve mediated parent/teacher conversations many times. Some have been extremely heated and I’ve always walked away feeling like I’d done a good job. I’ve tried hard to make sure everyone was heard, that they were treated fairly, that all parties could feel supported by me, even if they weren’t happy with the decision.
Today was different in that it was impossible for me to stay in either the role of principal or parent. The two roles converged and as objective as I was, it was a tough place to sit. It also was a complicated situation in which there was no easy solution. I’ve always thought that my strong personal investment in our school and our kids was an asset. Today it felt more like a liability and I’m left wondering if anyone felt supported by me.
I understood the parent point of view and the deep emotion that comes with raising a child and the commitment to always advocate for our kids, at the same time that we kick them in the butt when needed. I’ve lived the teacher’s point of view and I know with 100% certainty, that while we make mistakes, we are most often well intended.
As the principal, it was hard to sit squarely in the middle. I kept thinking about fairness, support, integrity, honesty–I hope those things carried me through that meeting today and that everyone left better for our time spent talking.