Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Confessions of a New Administrator: Week #1

This summer, I am getting my first hands-on experience at being a building administrator for my site of about 275 1st-5th graders.  I know that summer school is different than the regular school year, but much of the "blitz" I am feeling reminds me of being a first year teacher (and what I expect being a first year administrator may feel like).  One of my personal commitments in blogging is to be honest, open, and transparent (while protecting privacy) about my experiences - and I'm sure that, someday, I will smile looking back at what I was feeling at this time.  Hopefully it can help someone else learn, too!

My #oneword2017: LEAD

We've been planning and hiring for months, but this week, it felt like summer school really started.  Monday and Tuesday were mostly meetings & planning days for me and my clerical support, and today marked the first day with teachers & other staff there.  Here are some of the random snippets from my thoughts of the day!

  • My mind is spinning - I have SO MUCH INFORMATION coming at me from all angles, all the time!  More than anything, I feel like I don't have the experience to process things as they come, decide what is important/less important, or prioritize, so it all just feels important and in my face.
  • At the same time, I love the craziness.  I thrive on the high-energy, fast-paced environment.  It's been great confirmation of my decision to pursue this path!
  • I don't particularly like being up front.  It's so intimidating to have everyone there looking at me, waiting for me to start a meeting or explain some of the information.  I know I don't have to have all of the answers (and it's a good thing!), but I really have to push out of my comfort zone to be assertive and take the lead in these instances.
  • People have amazing ideas.  My staff has been able to fill in the things that I hadn't thought about, and collaboratively, we are developing better and better plans!
  • I hate saying no or disappointing people.  Why can't we just please everyone, all of the time?  I'm learning that this is, unfortunately, a fact of life that comes with the territory sometimes - and I can't take it personally.  Life goes on.  Perspective is a beautiful thing.
  • Office staff/clerical support is so, hugely important, and I am lucky to be working with an amazing person this summer!  Leadership can be lonely, and she has become my go-to person to bounce ideas off of, especially since she has been doing this much longer than me.
  • While it can sometimes be intimidating, I wish people would just be honest with me about how they feel when I ask them.  If somebody says they are okay with it, I tend to move ahead with that as the plan, but it's hard when I hear through a back channel that they are actually really frustrated or uncomfortable with the decision.  Maybe this is a part of my learning - not to take everything at face value, and to learn how to ask the right questions to really get at the heart of the matter and help people feel comfortable sharing where they are truly at.
  • A little encouragement goes a long way!  I am so grateful to my staff members who said something positive to me today - it helped me remember that, even though I have a steep learning curve, there are things I am doing well too!
  • When you are a teacher, your "big day" is when students show up.  As an administrator, my "big day" is when teachers show up.  A lot of my hard work in terms of planning and prepping is finished now, and I am moving into more of a fluid support role to be very present with my teachers (and their students next week).  I am putting in a lot of hours right now, and when I get home, I just need to stare at a wall and decompress, and then put my thoughts down on paper to get them organized...but I'm sure things will fall into more of a routine when we have a regular schedule.
The great news is that I'm loving it.  Really, truly, I am...even in the midst of feeling completely overwhelmed.  That's gotta be a good sign, right ;-)?

Can you relate to any of these?  What advice would you give a new administrator?  

1 comment:

  1. Great reflection Aubrey. I've had all those same feelings as a brand new administrator. It's really important to allow these things to help drive your learning and leadership.
    One of the things I've really been working on is learning to lean on my support staff. Although I may be responsible, I'm part of a team that's working together to move our school forward. Often others just need a little bit of guidance or the freedom to make great things happen.