For those who aren’t in the know, educators have to take very tedious (and expensive!) standardized tests in order to even apply for a license. While I currently have my elementary and middle school licenses (and passed multiple tests for both), today I had to again prove my ability to focus for 180 minutes while forking over $300. The upshot was that it was only 8 minutes from my house and there was ample parking.
I specifically scheduled the test for 11am so that I could have a leisurely cup of coffee, go for a run, and eat a nutritious breakfast before the test (every little bit counts, right?). I’m happy to announce that today I came one giant step closer to reaching my lofty goal of getting hired as an Assistant Principal; I passed my ORELA Administrator test.
Here’s my issue. While I have jumped through the last official hoop, I’m still not 100% convinced going into school administration is the place for me. Ironically, two years ago, I felt more ready than I do today. On one hand, I’ve become very jaded after witnessing some of the unprofessional and unethical practices of my previous administrator. On the other hand, his complete failure as a leader helped me develop a necessary wisdom that things will not always go your way despite your best efforts. In some twisted way, I learned some very important things about myself that I could never have learned without his toxic leadership and utter lack of mentorship.
So here I am, technically ready to apply once they start accepting applications. But I have so many reservations.
Top 9 Fears I Have About Administration
1. I don’t want to give up my summer. It makes me sound like a big baby to the rest of the working world, but people in education NEED time off from school. It is emotionally charged everyday. Whether you’re a teacher or an administrator, you’re job is to give give give all day and at a certain point you need to step away have some “me time” – or you will jump off a cliff. Plus, you’ve probably seen how much FUNNNNNNNN I have during my summers and I cringe at the idea of giving up that time.
2. I don’t want to be isolated from my colleagues. No matter where I have worked, I am a part of the social circle; happy hours, lunch time gossip, after school pranking. But when you become the “boss” things change. While I firmly believe that I would be an advocate of the teachers in my building so that they could do their best, I also don’t think I could be their “buddy” like I usually am. That’s hard to digest.
3. I don’t want to get fat. Another vain worry, but if I’m putting it out there I might as well be real. I’ve watched many administrators work VERY long hours, which means their personal needs get put on the backburner. There are only so many hours in a day, and I NEEEEEED my exercise, and eating healthy takes planning. I’m petrified that my personal time will be whittled away.
4. I don’t want to feel trapped by my job. If I make the jump to administration and I don’t like it – then what?? I can’t go back to the classroom, but what else would I even do?
5. I don’t want to hate teachers. Last year, I literally heard my AP last year utter the words, “I hate teachers,” more than once last year. She’s not the first to say something like that to me. Yeah, there are some crappy teachers out there, but some people WERE good teachers but the system demoralized them and over time they gave up caring. To become so distanced from the challenges the people you are supposed to be leading is troubling.
6. I don’t want to be stuck in meetings all day. I hate hate hate sitting in meetings. Anyone who has sat next to me for more than a few minutes at a meeting knows I get really fidgety and annoyed. My time is valuable! Sitting around listening to someone read off a PowerPoint or announce something that could have just gone out in an email is like take a cheese grater to my skin.
7. I don’t want to be a pawn of the system. Have you figured out I can’t stand bureaucracy? I will not play political games or mess with the lives of students/teachers to make my boss happy. I’m not saying a lot administrators do this, but sadly I’ve watched the ones who are willing to climb over others move up faster than those who won’t.
8. I don’t want to live at school. When I pull into the school parking lot, I always scan to see who is already there. I’m always early, and I see my administrators are always there before me. And they are typically still there when I leave. And at PTA meetings at night. And at sporting events on the weekends……..
9. I don’t want to give up my blog. There are some crazy people out there. Administrators are under constant public scrutiny, and I’m certain someone from the community could find something they don’t agree with. Being an educator at any level means the public expects a higher level of “morality” from you (and I agree with that!), but it also means your personal life can threaten your career. i’m not down with that.
I still fully intend to apply at this point because I feel like I can’t come this far and not see what opportunities might pop up, but I’m still not convinced it’s the right path for me.