In most schools in Southern Alberta, student teachers from our local university come and go quite regularly. I’m sure they all hope to be memorable, but the truth is, after so many of them come through, they kind of blend together into one eager (mostly), nervous (nearly always), smiling face. After they learn 1. the ropes of the staffroom: what’s in the fridge is not communal property, and don’t ever leave the coffee maker empty – and 2. the law of the parking lot: use the street to park and your life will be sooo much better – they generally get down to work with their supervising teacher and their students in the classrooms. I did have a memorable conversation with one young man in the staff workroom one day. He was struggling with the photocopier and killing trees above all expectations. After we managed to save a forest by making some changes to his fervent copying, we began to chat about his experiences thus far at the school. Yes, he was enjoying his very first round as a student teacher, yes, the students were very welcoming and all was going well. As I turned to leave, he very casually remarked that while he would like to be a teacher, what he really wanted to be was a principal, and was my job very hard? I’m quite sure the only reply I could muster at first was a confused ‘huh?’ look on my face. I think I sputtered something about him taking one step at a time, and having a long way to go before ever considering school administration. Or something like that. What’s even more strange is that this 24 year old kid seemed quite put out with my response, like I should have revealed the secrets of the galaxy in the workroom that day. He could then skip all those years of that pesky thing called teaching, and get right to the principal’s chair. He actually thought the principal was the most important person in the school.
There were two critical lessons this young man simply had to learn asap: 1. the most important people in the school are…..the students. That fact can never be overlooked or underestimated. If I decide to be a teacher I am bound to give my all to my students, no matter how difficult the day may be. And 2. teachers may not be working from a principal’s office, but they are leaders within the classroom and the school. Every single day.
I’ve worked with teachers who are truly brilliant – some who could (in my own opinion) be very successful in school administration. Some whose remarkable talent is best seen and served with their students. The leadership all these teachers demonstrate each day is pure beauty, and these skills should be recognized.
I just might do that. Hey, that’s what blogging is for!