Principal’s Eye View
Happy new year to you all and welcome to 2022!!
Throughout the course of each year I visit somewhere around 100 classes. These aren’t just a stop by, these are times for evaluations of teachers. I have always valued these visits more than almost anything else I do in the course of a year. The observations allow me to get a glimpse of what is happening throughout the school, helps me develop relationships with the students seated around me and fuels my constant appreciation for the hard work teachers do. There are, in short, many reasons to stay trapped in my office each day. The observations ensure that I’m out and around the school.
There are a lot of people who conduct these observations throughout the school and I get to work with them to create our observation schedule each year. And while we maintain a loose rotation of who we each visit I am prepared to admit that there are a few that I keep for myself each year. While I have great respect for the teachers of my school there are a few who I don’t just value as teachers, but also as people.
Yesterday I observed one such teacher for the final time as they prepare for their retirement at the end of the school year. The observation process can be fraught with nervousness or annoyance by some and I understand that, no one likes to know they are being watched. So, it is understandable that it would be difficult to create relationships through this process and yet, from time to time, it happens.
From day 1, eleven years ago, this teacher has welcomed me into their class and allowed me to see the way they shine on their students. Ours is a relationship that started, like so many others, as a professional one. Two people who appreciated the work of each other. Over time, in part because of the difficulties of life, it has evolved beyond mutual professional respect and into a friendship that happens to include the great joy I get once a year from watching him do his job that he has always been deeply passionate about.
There are so many features of his class that are just his, affectations that he has developed over the years that I would love to share with you. I can’t say they will have the same meaning to you as they do for me. For now, let me just share that every move, every decision, every word spoken is chosen with both care and purpose. He bleeds teaching and adores this school and his students.
Today was hard for us both. Yes, we have until June, but this process of being two professionals with deep, abiding respect for each other has come to an end. As I prepared to leave his class today we hugged and thanked each other. Class was still going on and the students, I am guessing, have never seen a principal and a teacher hug each other out of pure admiration for each other. In fact, they should see more of it. I am grateful for my friend. The school won’t be the same without him, of that I am certain. I am a better person for knowing him and I will miss him dearly.