There are days in this job when seemingly nothing goes as planned. Student issues override everything and some nights I arrive home realizing I’ve just reacted to everything that was coming at me all day long. Not the best management style, not intended, and certainly not the kind of day that anyone wants to have. These are the days that leave me wondering if I’ve been effective at all, exhausted, and raiding my secretary’s desk for candy bars.
But the best part about the unpredictability of working with adolescents is that it works both ways. I had about four different tough student issues this week, the kind of stuff that I can’t solve. Those are the issues that take it out of me. Right when I’m feeling worn down, something always seems to happen to lift me out of it. And it’s always the kids—and I’m reminded of why I’m here, why I’m fighting the good fight, why I’m trying to make a difference. The problem is that we sometimes get tied up in the most extreme cases and we miss those other 98% of the students who are just coming to school, day in and day out, doing exactly what we ask of them.
Here’s how it went today. I was leaving a meeting at BOCES, where some of our students go for vocational education, and all of my G-Town kids were waiting with the other BOCES students for classes to start. They haven’t seen me there before and their reaction made me smile. They were friendly and excited and calling out to me. They wanted me to stop and talk and they wondered why I was there. I told them I was checking up on them and they said “we’re doing great, aren’t we?!” I felt proud that they were my kids and even prouder that they “owned up” to me in front of their friends from other schools. I remembered why I’m a high school principal—it’s for each of them. It’s for the G-Town students who need me the least, those who just go about their business every day. I need to schedule time with them every day, for me, more than for them. Yep, I love this job.