When I began my teaching career, people would often ask me, "So, do you want to be a principal some day?" My response was always along the lines of "No way! I have no desire to become an administrator." And I didn't. I became a teacher because I wanted to teach, not because it was a stepping stone to the administrative ranks.
As an elementary school teacher, I was also asked during the early years of my career if I ever had plans to move up to middle school. Once again, I usually responded by saying that I was happy at the elementary level and had no plans to make the move to middle school.
Yet here I am, an assistant principal at a middle school. Who would have thought? Never say never.
I write this post after completing my first two days of the school year as a middle school administrator. How'd it go? It went well. My principal was ill and was forced to miss the final two days leading up to school starting as well as the first two days of school. That added to the stress of my new position, but my fellow assistant principal and I did our best to rally the troops, and all things considered, the first day went very smoothly. I even had the pleasure of speaking with a very, very upset parent. But I survived. The second day saw fundraiser assemblies, more breaks and lunches, and despite several dress code violations, the day once again ended well.
One of my big goals this week was to make connections with students, to try and make the campus a place of safety. See, I had a miserable experience when I was in middle school. I was consistently picked on and rarely felt safe when I had to leave the classroom and walk around campus during breaks and lunches. So as I walked the campus these past two days, I saw myself in many of the 1,500 students. I saw myself in that scared boy or girl who just wants to feel comfortable at school, to make new friends, to fit in. Was I able to assuage the fear and uncertainty of every student on campus? Unfortunately, no. But it's my prayer that those I was able to meet and talk to felt a bit safer, a bit more comfortable, that their assistant principal is there to do everything he can to make sure they don't feel the way he felt when he was a 6th grader.
I have a lot to learn, but I'm excited about this opportunity. God has placed me in this position for a reason, and I look forward to seeing what He has planned for me and Shivela Middle School.
“One stage of your journey is over, another begins.”
- Gandalf, in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Who knew that a quote from one of my favorite movie trilogies would become applicable in my life? Well, it has, as next school year I will be leaving the classroom after 15 years of teaching to become an assistant principal at Shivela Middle School in my district. While I will greatly miss the staff, students, and parents of Tovashal, I'm absolutely ecstatic about the opportunity to support teachers as they support their students.
Some of you may be wondering what will happen to mrcoley.com, my classroom website. The resources on my site will remain online for teachers and students to access, but the site will no longer be updated as I shift my focus to my new position. I will continue to blog, however. :-)
This is not the end. I hope you’ll continue to follow me as my journey leads me to new and exciting places (like middle school).
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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