I LOVE fall. It is my favorite time of the year…hooded sweatshirts, football, apple cider, bonfires!!! I have always enjoyed the season change but a few years ago I had yet another reason to celebrate, when I entered my office on October 1st I was shocked to see a gift bag on my desk. I had no clue what this package was for or who it was from but I was excited!! Who wouldn’t like to find a gift on their desk first thing in the morning?
I opened the note attached to the bag to find it was from my kindergarten team wishing me a happy principals month! I didn’t even know this was such a thing!! Wow, I really dropped the ball for the past decade as I never recognized my former principal or got her anything special for national principals month and she was way more deserving of this recognition than I was!!!
Over the next month I was showered with gifts, notes, and flowers from colleagues, students, and parents. I was shocked and humbled. I had taken on my new role as a principal 3 months ago, to say I was overwhelmed 3 months in was an understatement.
I was working all the time. I would wake up and before I was even out of bed I was checking AESOP on my phone then I would spend my shower planning out a tentative sub schedule in my head for the day which would inevitably change 4 times before school even started and probably once during the day when one of my 150 staff members would need to go home for a personal emergency. I did my best to be out at the buses when students were dropped off, do the morning announcements by 8:30, take care of the many discipline issues each day, do classroom walkthroughs, be at recess/lunch with the students and follow-up on parent calls/email, and if I was lucky I would be able to do a little paperwork before being in the gym for the dismissal routine. After students would leave for the day, my office was bombarded with teachers addressing their concerns for me to help and support before heading into an after school committee meeting plus, if it were a Tuesday I would have either a PTA meeting or a board meeting to attend in the evening. On a good night, I was getting home between 5:30-6pm, to spend an hour or two with my baby and husband before turning my computer back on and working until 1-2am. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely LOVED my job and all that it entailed but it was exhausting.
Day in and day out I was sacrificing myself and my family for the stakeholders within my building. I was doing my best for everyone and still feeling like a failure each day. The to-do list never ending and two-four hours of sleep was taxing.
I am not someone who needs praise to continue to do what is right and needs to be done; however, receiving a little note and a special treat throughout the month acknowledging my efforts was so very much appreciated. As educators, we ALL work tirelessly to do what is right for our students; but I employ you to spend October showing appreciation and acknowledgement to your principals.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort or money, here are a few tips on how you can help celebrate National Principals Month:
- Write them a quick note, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy…even a pot-it would work.
- Buy them a cup of coffee or their favorite chocolate.
- Call your principal’s family and tell their significant other/children/etc. how awesome it is that you get to work for their loved one. Thank them for allowing him/her to be so dedicated.
- Shower him/her with flowers or an edible arrangement!
- Organize a school breakfast/lunch in their honor.
- Have your students/families write your principal a thank you note/email.
- Decorate the office.
- Smile, be creative and have fun!
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning