I’ve written a ton about how much I love my job- the kids, the practice of teaching- all of it. But I also totally adore my school- and by that I mean the people I work with and how incredibly supportive they are of one another. In the last few weeks I’ve been reminded of how lucky I am to be working with such kind and understanding people.
The principal of my school is in his first year here. The principal before him retired last year after a nearly 40-year run. He was an incredible man and I’m not exaggerating when I say that everyone adored him. We all knew that whoever this new guy was, he’d have some pretty big shoes to fill.
I’d only actually seen the new principal about 3 times this school year. Where as our old principal spent the days walking up and down the halls, popping in to say hello or ask how your weekend was, this principal seemed holed up in his office all the time. I’m sure, as with any job- especially that of being a principal- he was learning the ropes, getting used to peoples names and faces, every day and emergency procedures. But still, he wasn’t as visible, and as a staff, we’re getting used to that.
So when I had a situation with a student that escalated to the point of a parent meeting, and I was approached by the new principal asking if he could sit-in, I was nervous.
Not about meeting the parent. The situation we were dealing with was pretty cut and dry. However, I knew exactly how the old principal would react. I knew exactly what he would’ve said and would’ve done- except he wasn’t here. The new guy was.
I cannot tell you how relieved I was when he met with me pre-meeting to assure me that he had my back and we were going to deal with everything together. During the meeting he was respectful to both myself and the parent, listened intently, defended me where necessary, asked really wonderful questions, and concluded the meeting by politely, yet sternly, letting the parent know that the issue was over with, and we’d all be moving on- have a nice day!
When the parent left, the principal stayed behind a few minutes to make sure I felt okay with how everything went- he thanked me for my time and apologized that it even had to happen. Apologized! I was so beyond impressed with how he handled it all.
And after that? Two other administrators came by to see how everything went- they also both thanked me and apologized!
To work in a place where I know I’m not only supported but also cared about means more than I can explain. It makes you feel safe, like you’re part of a bigger family, and not just a worker-bee in the hive.
Mrs. O is still on the search for her perfect match. Her niece, my work BFF, who may also be the energizer bunny (she bakes cookies for the department at 1am, and looks so good in pink) has organized a school-wide bone marrow drive which took place last week.
When she mentioned she wanted to get this going, I was in full support of her, but secretly had my doubts about how quickly/effectively she could pull it all together. Usually things like this take all kinds of paperwork and permission and things like that- red tape, you know?
Color me surprised when just two days after mentioning the idea to me, there was a school-wide email sent out to the entire staff that later in the month there would be a bone marrow drive at school! Volunteers from Be the Match were coming to swab anyone willing. Knowing it was my turn to give back some support, I volunteered my prep period for that day to help out at the drive. And wouldn’t you know it, Mrs. O herself came by to thank all of us for supporting her. It’s the first time I’d seen her since she left just after Christmas, and let me tell you- she looks great! She’s in such high sprits and was moved to tears to see so many students and teachers getting swabbed and helping out.
Working in a school is so much like having a second family. You’re proud of one another, you’re strong for one another, you fight for (and even sometimes with) one another, but you’re there, doing all of it together. I couldn’t be luckier to have found such an incredible (and huge!) second family.