Last week, all of the Simcoe County District School Board principals and vice-principals attended a Director’s Meeting. When we were greeted at the entrance, we were all given pins to wear with the statement, “Ask me why I love my job.” When I returned to the school the following day, I stuck the pin into my office bulletin board. While working at my desk, I have been finding myself looking up at the pin and pondering what my response would be.
There were a few stressful moments over the last week when I admit that I looked at the pin and laughed, but the statement, “Ask me why I love my job” stayed with me. Through the week, I continued to think about the reasons I chose the career of elementary school administrator. I realized that it is in those challenging moments when it is essential to have solid grasp on my response. So, I decided to write my first blog post on this topic.
I have been a vice-principal for the past two years, and I believe that it is truly one of the best jobs in education. In Simcoe County, many vice-principals spend a portion of their day teaching. While the teaching part of my job often occurs in the midst of administrative duties, once I get into a class and begin teaching, I can temporarily forget about those tasks and fully focus on the kids. It keeps me in touch with the students and helps us build relationships on a more personal level.
I love people…all kinds of people. My job gives me the opportunity to work with children and parents from all walks of life. I enjoy getting to know them and sharing their life experiences, both positive and negative. When people come to see me in my office, it is not always for something positive. Luckily, I also love a good challenge and the opportunity to problem solve. Although talking to someone who is upset isn’t pleasant at the time, the feeling of satisfaction and growth that occurs after coming up with a mutually agreeable solution is gratifying.
Working with staff and community partners is another highlight of my job. I work with an outstanding principal who is an out-of-the-box thinker. I have learned so much working with him and have had many laughs along the way. I love learning, and I learn every day from the incredible staff at my school.
It is extremely fulfilling to make a difference and have a positive impact on others. As a teacher, I made an impact on the students who I taught. As a vice-principal, I hope to make a positive impact on the entire school. I love collaborating with teachers, offering feedback and seeing them grow from day to day and year to year. I enjoy working with “difficult” students and seeing them mature and grow.
I enjoy spending time each day walking through classrooms and seeing students participate in a variety of wonderful and creative activities their teachers have planned to support their learning. Teachers also often send students to the office to show me their work or to read with me. Witnessing students genuinely excited about learning something new is a wonderful feeling.
I empathize with students who get bored easily. As a school administrator, each day is different. You never know who you will meet, what challenges you will face or which opportunities will arise. I can say with 100 percent certainty that there is never a day that I say “I’m bored” working in this job.
Being a school administrator is demanding, but it is also rewarding. You have to be thick skinned (I’m still working on this one), hard working, organized, caring, flexible and creative. It is not a job for just anyone. I would by lying if I said that there aren’t aspects that I could do without (for example: some of the politics, being the “bad guy” and maintaining work-life balance), but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
The educators who I have had the pleasure of working with during my career have been some of the most caring and dedicated people who I have ever met. I’m sure, if you ask, they could add many more points to this blog post.
This week, as we kick off a new school year, and especially if challenges arise, I will continue to focus on the reasons why I love my job. I don’t know what this year will bring, but I am looking forward to blogging about my thoughts and experiences. I would encourage readers to post comments and suggestions for topics that you would like me to explore. Happy September and welcome back to our SCDSB schools!
Alison Golding is Vice-Principal at W.H. Day ES in Bradford and a regular contributor to Sharing Simcoe. Read her bio here.