As promised in my blog post A Day in the Life of an Elementary Vice Principal…Part 1, here is the second installment of what I hope to be a three-part series on the role of an elementary school administrator. Since my last Day in the Life blog in December, I am now working at a different school in a different community and have been busy getting to know the staff, students and families.
An exciting part of my new role, along with getting to know an entirely different school community, is that my new school, Alliston Union, is closing and re-opening in a new building in September. So, as the year winds down, many of the activities of my day involve planning for the closing the current building.
In reading the first and second blog post, you will likely notice many differences in a “typical” day of a school administrator, which was why I decided to write more than one post on this topic. Every day is full of new adventures, which is one of the reasons that I love my job! What a vice-principal in another community, or in a secondary school would write, would also be very different.
8 a.m. – Arrive at school, check staff absences and meet with staff to touch base on the various events of the day.
8:30 a.m. – Students arrive and classes begin. I help sign in students who have come in late and talking with parents…the office is always busy at this time.
9 a.m. – Meet with a representative of the local Rotary Club to discuss programs that they sponsor in the school. Specifically, we discussed implementing a new program next year, called Who is Nobody that has terrific links to the SCDSB character traits, community and self-esteem building. I accepted an invitation to attend the next Rotary meeting where I am looking forward to hearing testimonials from other schools about the impact of this program on their students.
9:30 a.m. – Walk around the school and visit each classroom.
10 a.m. – During recess time, I lead Grades 5-8 and Grades 1-4 choirs with a parent volunteer. We are working on a song that will be performed at the closing ceremony in June. This is one of the times during my week that I look forward to most because I get to make connections with a lot of the students and I love to experience their enthusiasm and eagerness!
11 a.m. – After recess, I get a call that one of our students with special needs is having difficulties in the classroom and needs a safe spot to cool down. He comes to my office and I’m eating a snack when he arrives so I offer him some. Having snack with me seems to distract him and, once he appears more calm, we talk abut why he was feeling upset, problem solve and do a bit of guided relaxation. Ordering some resources was on my “to do” list for the day, and the resources happen to be for a group that he will be involved in. He sits with me while I order the resources for a program called Superflex that one of the Special Education Resource teachers will be running with a small group of boys and we talk a bit about the program while I order.
12:10 p.m. – The student is ready to go back to his classroom, but is feeling anxiety around going back mid-class after leaving upset. I offer to walk back with him and he accepts. While I’m in the classroom, another student approaches me about not having a ride to school tomorrow. The class is going on a field trip which is departing the school prior to busing and she is a bus student. I return to the office, call her family and get permission to pick her up at home the following morning to bring her to school for the trip.
12:30 p.m. – I’m grateful that today is “Salad Day” for staff, since I gave away some of my lunch earlier. I go to the staff room and make a plate of salad, but get called back to the office almost immediately…the salad sits on my desk while I get back to work. I deal with some behaviour issues during recess, then take about 5 minutes to eat at the bell.
1:15 p.m. – I go to a Grade 7 room to teach a critical literacy lesson based on a music video. In my current role, I don’t teach each day like I did at my previous school, however, I still try to take time to visit classrooms and do activities with students.
2:10 p.m. – I return to the office and things are quiet so I read some memos and work on a schedule for our “tutor in the classroom”, who begins her role at the school the following week. Her job will be to support some of our Grades 3 and 6 classes with literacy and numeracy. I also work on re-vamping the invitation to our closing ceremony on June 19th as we had to reschedule the event which was initially planned for June 12 because of the announcement of the provincial election on that date.
2:50 p.m. – School ends and there are two meetings. My principal attends the monthly meeting for our educational assistant while I attend a meeting with a teacher and two mothers around a potential bullying issue between their children as well as interactions outside of the school that have occurred between their families. The meeting, which had the possibility of being contentious, ends up being very productive, and all parties leaving feeling positive.
3:50 p.m. – I leave the school and head to McDonald’s where I am volunteering for McHappy Day. I spend most of the event face painting for donations. It was great to see families from my school come out to support this cause. I also learned that I’m actually really good at painting Spider-Man! Proceeds from the event went to Ronald McDonald House, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Matthews House Hospice and the Borden Family Resource Centre. Between the Alliston and Angus McDonalds locations, over $28,000 was donated to these causes!
7 p.m. – I make the drive home to Barrie feeling fantastic after having participated in such a positive event…and that was my day in the life of an elementary vice principal (part 2)!
With my school move in the new year, and closing and opening of the school, I realize now that I was initially a bit overambitious saying that I would write three parts on this topic this school year. Stay tuned for the third and final “Day in the Life” installment next school year!