“Administrative Decisions are Best Made at Sunset”

"Administrative Decision Time"

Twelve years ago I gave serious consideration to pursuing my administrative credential. I was just beginning my second year as a counselor and really enjoying the job when one morning the principal and assistant principal came to see me. I found it quite unusual that they should both be there at the same time and was curious as to what was up. Well what they laid out for me was my future as an assistant principal. It seems my boss the AP of Guidance was going to retire in June and basically they were offering me his job! It was a rush listening to them try and sell me on the idea. At that time I had no intention of doing anything other than counseling for the rest of my career.  Long story short, after two follow-up meetings they succeeded in convincing me and the next thing you know I’m registered at APU set to begin admin. classes in January. I was going to be an administrator!

Then my wife and I went to Hawaii for a week in November to celebrate our 25th anniversary and everything changed. Yes, it was while sipping mai-tais on the lanai of a beautiful Maui condo, watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’d ever experienced that my administrative dream took a turn. We were sitting there talking when suddenly I began thinking about my decision to return to school. We discussed the issue for awhile and my wife finally said. “You don’t have to be an administrator if you don’t want to. If you’re happy being a counselor, then be a counselor. Whatever makes you happy.” I sat there quietly thinking Do I really want to be an AP? Do I want the responsibility, the headaches, all the extra hours? Did I really want to be owned 24/7? The extra pay would sure be nice and quite helpful for retirement purposes but still I wasn’t so sure. Besides, as a counselor I didn’t have to handle any discipline at all. As an AP a major part of my day would be discipline issues. Decisions, decisions…

By the time the sun set behind the island of Moloak’i in a colorful display of red and golden hues, I knew what I was going to do. Smiling, I put my feet up on the rail and watched the sky slowly give way to starlight. I would remain a counselor. A decision I felt absolutely good about. We toasted my decision and enjoyed the rest of the evening as well as the rest of our vacation. When I returned I informed my principal and AP about my decision. They thought I was making a mistake but respected my choice. I then notified APU. My administrative dream had been short but sweet. It just wasn’t in the cards for me.

Do I regret my decision? Not for a single second! Since that day I’m often reminded why my choice was a valid one. Yesterday was one of those days. We have a situation involving the administrative team.(principal & 3 AP’s) It actually involves only one AP, but they’re a team, you know, musketeer stuff, “all for one and one for all”. So now it’s developing into an “us vs them” situation. It’s definitely not pretty. Believe me, being an an administrator on a high school campus is  more responsibility than I would care to handle. Not that I couldn’t handle it, I just wouldn’t want to. Sometimes you’re looked up to, other times your mocked and ridiculed. Not my idea of a fun job.

Had I decided to become an AP, I would like to believe I’d have been one of the good ones, there are some good administrators out there. I would have done the job to the best of my ability and be wholly responsible for my actions. Taking the heat and being the villain when called on and falling on my sword and taking one for the team when needed. I admire and respect leaders who play by those rules. But even good leaders make mistakes. The idea is to learn from those errors and press forward changing things for the better. Unfortunately change is slow in coming and making a difference, even a small one is difficult. You see the rules of the game are too deeply entrenched to really change things. As in any business hierarchy  the buck will always be passed, the blame game always played, plausible deniability a fact of life and shit will always run downhill.

Administrators – gotta love em…

Just Saying…

JS


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