As a superintendent of schools, my day to day work is very different than in any other role I’ve had from teacher to assistant principal to principal. On any given day, I may have tasks and projects lined up that require little to no contact with anyone else in the district. Forms to be completed, budgets to analyze, reading and writing and analyzing, documents to study, attorneys to speak to, phone calls to return. There are plenty of other days when I’m involved in meetings all day or visiting classrooms or listening to others. But what I don’t get that I had in every other role is day to day responsibility for a group of students. As a teacher, I obviously had my class schedule and rosters of students and as a principal, well at least there was discipline! As the superintendent, I visit classrooms and I can always hang out in a kindergarten room if I need a little kid time–but I’m just a visitor to those students.
Until this year. For reasons I can’t remember, I have a small group of Randolph Seniors who stop in throughout my day and often have lunch with me. It’s the very best part of my day. They argue, they ask questions, they talk about the issues on their minds, they complain, they drive me crazy. I love it.
Why? Because it’s why we all do what we do–the pure joy of spending a work day with kids. Students have always been my absolute favorite people—talking with them, listening to them, and yes, trying my best to influence them positively. They would add here that more than once I’ve chastised at least one of these stellar seniors in a manner very similar to how I spoke to my own children, before they became adults. Just a little bit, I get to be teacher and mom again. Pure Joy.
I will miss them terribly at graduation, I’ll probably cry just as I did each year as the principal. And my fervent hope is that yet another group of students finds their way into my office next year. Keeping me real.