Recently I was channel surfing and came across the television program “Undercover Boss”. The premise is simple: the CEO of an organisation goes undercover to discover the challenges and triumphs of his or her employees with the hope that better decisions will made at the “top” of the organisation.
While not a fan of the show (I don’t consider myself a CEO or going “undercover”), it did get me reflecting about my role as a principal.
My situation allows me to be a teaching principal (I teach Law 12 - see the student moderated class blog here). I do so for the following reasons:
It’s my "time out" or safe haven
I look forward to taking a “time out” from the day to day administration of running a school. It also gets me away from the adults and with students in an authentic and exciting way.
Authentic relationships with my students
As a principal I value my relationships with all my students. Developing authentic relationships can be more challenging outside of a teacher/learner setting.
I can walk my talk
We spend much time and energy planning, creating and implementing our School Growth Plan. Teaching allows me tremendous insight and credibility with my colleagues when it comes to the implementation of our Growth Plan. Having a tough time with our Assessment and Grading Guide, Pyramid of Intervention, Literacy across the Curriculum or Technology Integration? My ongoing experience in the class allows me to offer a more genuine and empathetic ear. It also allows me to share my current struggles and successes as a teacher!
Rooted in the “why”
Teaching provides me a constant reminder as to why I decided to join the profession in the first place. This anchors me as an instructional leader.
Keeps me relevant
Being an active practitioner in the classroom gives me another, often more pressing reason to be relevant and “up to date”. I owe it to my students!
Of course, I realize that every local situation is different. I would, however, recommend that all administrators find time and a place to embed themselves as teaching professionals.
In the end it helps me be “up to my neck“in teaching and learning at my school.