Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Microstory 282: Perspective Fifty-Seven

Perspective Fifty-Six

People are always asking me when I’m going to get my own gig as principal. But I’m perfectly happy as the vice principal. And that’s not coming from a place of resentment. I haven’t been passed over several times, and am now just pretending it doesn’t bother me. I really do prefer my job to my boss’. He sits in his office all day, making decisions and dealing with bureaucracy. I get to deal with the students. I’m sure to you that doesn’t sound like a plus, but I got into teaching in order to shape young minds, not to sign documents. My position here gives me the scope I need to encounter any student, rather than the small subset teachers have, and when I do interact with one of the children, it’s really important in that very moment. They come to see me when something’s wrong, and I’m proud to be the person who can hopefully make things better. Don’t misunderstand me, teachers are superstars. I’m not saying they have no effect, but it’s so subtle and seamless. What I do is take immediate action on a pressing issue, and I get to see the results of my efforts instantly, good or bad. I am by no means considered a “cool vice principal” but I’m not as hated as my colleagues in the rest of the district. You know how that old saying goes, “firm but fair”. That’s always been important to me; to make sure the student actually experiences a benefit from my discipline, and that I make it a learning experience for them. I don’t just want to punish their behavior and walk away, because they’ll probably just do it again. Of course I still see recidivism, but I like to think my numbers would be lower than the national average. I do have this one kid who has to come in all the time. I feel for him, I really do. He is incredibly clever, but the problem is how much he vocalizes what he knows. He takes his assignments profoundly seriously, and always has to make sure to become an authority on the matter, but sometimes just so he can argue with his teachers about it. I want to encourage him to explore his passions, especially for history. I want to fuel his thirst for all knowledge, but I need to find a way to teach him restraint. You need to know when to keep your mouth shut, am I right? Maybe we just need to find a subject with which he struggles. Maybe that will give him a glimpse of what it’s like for the rest of us. We’ll look into that when he inevitably returns to me within the week. For now, I’m due to speak with a particularly troubled child.

Perspective Fifty-Eight

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