Today, as is often the case, I was asked whether I’d be taking AP classes. As the math coach, I’ve always been hesitant to discuss professional ambitions out in the open (because when I do, they get forwarded to people in my school and that becomes a mushroom cloud I have a hard time sitting on). Plus, maintaining a professional demeanor in spite of all is probably any teacher’s (especially a younger teacher’s) greatest weapon.
Today, I’m going to say without a shadow of a doubt that I’m not (absolutely not) becoming an administrator anytime soon. And here are five reasons why:
5) I really appreciate getting out at normal time when I need to.
Being an AP means staying really long hours early and often, even when it’s not necessary. At least if you’re a good one. It means neglecting friends and family in the name of improving your school to the best of your ability. It sometimes means really long commutes and managing far more personalities than you thought. That is, if you’re good. If you’re not that great, then you just hand off your work to the willingest teacher and hope they do all the work for you secretly. And leave with the teachers, too.
4) I like eating lunch on schedule.
Not every teacher gets this opportunity, but for the most part, teachers get the opportunity to have a regulated breather / pee break / face-on-desk time and lunch every day. APs aren’t as fortunate. If they’re good, they’re constantly roaming the halls, working with students, (formally and informally) observing and consulting teachers, and telling parents why their child is doing well … or not. I’ve had a taste of these things on many ends and, as powerful a work this is, it’s just that: work. If you’re good at what you do, lunch often gets lost in the shuffle. Often.
3) Even as math coach, I only have to work with a slice of the teachers in the building, not all.
Yes, I do work with everyone at this point. Yet, my role is more facilitator and liaison than supervisor. I don’t think I want to deal with this “supervisor” title without understanding this math coach stuff because …
2) I’m not done teaching yet.
I still have to prove to myself that I can be a better teacher. I work hard at what I do, but every year, I’ve tried to become a better teacher. Sometimes, it didn’t work, but this year, I’m feeling it. I’m hitting a stride that I like a lot. Even though I only teach one class, that class is the foundation upon which I build my PDs and any other discussions I have with my district. Plus …
1) I’m tired of people asking me.
What is it about schools that send their supposedly promising young men straight off to be administrators? If you have a certain look, then you have to be out of the classroom, even when you’re not ready to do so. I’ve seen a few administrators who, after observing their moves, I think should get back in the classroom for a little longer. Staying in the classroom makes someone a better administrator, and the best principals and APs I know were probably very good teachers (at least adequate).
After all the discussions I’ve had with people like you (and you and you), I simply don’t see myself as a teacher of all teachers. I may be a school building leader, but to be a good administrator, there’s a whole skill set I have yet to learn. How do I discuss (and model) differentiation, formative and summative assessment, classroom management, and mediation? How do I handle those case-by-case situations without having to call every DOE person up? How do I handle each supervisor, network leader, parent association president, union rep,and chancellor who walks through those alarm-triggered steel double doors?
Why do people keep asking me if I’m going to be an administrator? Because that’s where things are going, I guess. Just not yet. I’d like to eat my lunch in silence, please.
Mr. Vilson, who wants to see how this one gets back to the school …
p.s. – My other reasons are actually people I rather not name. There. I said it. (Yes, I’m laughing. No, I’m not kidding.)