I truly believe that I have chosen the single greatest job in the world (as an educator), but the climate and nature of the beast, indeed, challenges a person’s resolve and drive to do, not just what’s best for kids, but rather, what’s best for the future of our society.
Grandiose visions of perfect staffs and perfect supervisors are not only false – they are unrealistic. Change in schools – real, positive and lasting change – is only made possible through struggle and conflict. Inside ourselves, with our colleagues, with our supervisors, with our priorities – this change will bring us to our knees at some point and force us to choose action in the face of distress and uncertainty. If we were not the best choice for this esteemed position (teaching the future of our society), we wouldn't be faced with these kinds of personally-defining decisions – because we would have walked away and chose to do something else with our lives before it got real hard.
Being a leader is a lot like being on sale: you’re always in demand, people seem to think you’re never around when you’re needed, and you have the power to make others feel proud of themselves – heck, you could even make a difference in someone else’s life.
The context of being a principal has morphed dramatically from the manager of a staff to the manager of all things school. It’s not enough to be nice – you have to be accountable. It’s not enough to be smart – you have to be a visionary. It’s not enough to be consistent – you have to be progressive.
The system is in need of bold and ambitious goals. Those of us who indeed “go forward” shouldn’t just be accepting a new position – we are accepting a challenge. The middle doesn’t need holding – the top needs to be uncovered. Our students and communities will demand our best and settle for nothing less.