My first three days in as principal…exciting, confusing, productive, encouraging.
Where to begin?
It took one whole day to even begin my to-do list. A lot of time was spent in conversation–email, face to face and on the phone. Valuable, but not check-off-able. It left me feeling like I was getting nothing done. Fortunately I realized quickly that the communication was probably more valuable than the to-do list. I was meeting people I need to know, building relationships and gathering information. So at the end of Day 1, I felt good and 100% ready for Day 2.
Day 2 was mainly a day of communicating and navigating through my predecessor’s files. Wrong chairs ordered–need to return and get the right ones. Two desks arrived damaged and screws are missing–what to do with damaged ones? when will two new ones arrive? where to find screws? (very specifics, not your Ace Hardware variety of screws). Old desks–who picks up and when? The wireless network isn’t working–why? check server closet, test wired connectivity, narrow down scope of outage, email tech support. Meeting regarding a student incident last year. Track project–is the bid being awarded? when will work begin? will it interrupt the start of school? Lots of problems solved, agreements made and relationships forged.
On to Day 3.
Day 3 was my check-off the to-do list day. Figured out how to get Microsoft Word to make the table of contents for our school handbook all by itself. Formatting is key. Updated the handbook. Sorted out a duty schedule for the start of school. A workable computer lab schedule is ready to go. Music schedules are set. Welcome back letter to the staff is almost ready. Successfully imported mail merge data from Google docs. One hour training on Aeries (student database). Updated school calendar for parents. Organized two works days before students arrive. Confirmed staff development plans for start of school.
Whew! I need a vacation! Not really, but I do have a week and a half break before I go back full-time. I’m proud of myself for the scheduling choices I made. The three days give me a lot to chew on and consider. I have a better sense of how to manage my time, how/what to prioritize and how much can actually be accomplished in a day. Not that I won’t get better at time management, but school is dynamic and at the heart, a service organization. There is no ‘quiet time’ in a school day. Communication is key and vital to the health and well-being of our school. So the major learning from my first three days is Let Go of the To-Do List! or better, Rethink the To-Do List! People come first.