The real principal and assistant principal were away at a meeting, so they asked me to substitute.
It was fun. It’s easy being a principal if you have no real duties.
All I had to do was make sure everyone was safe. I didn’t have to observe teachers or balance budgets or counsel students or develop literacy plans or fight for facilities or listen to frustrated parents or do any real principal work. I just sat in the office (which was quiet, by the way!) and did my work.
I wasn’t completely lazy. I walked the hallways, ushered students into class, picked up litter, and set a positive tone. I also had to deal with three minor student incidents, but unlike the classroom, they came one at a time, not everything simultaneously, which made things easier to resolve. The pace was slower, and the work more deliberate, more focused.
Today reminded me of a few years ago, when I served as interim co-principal when our real principal was on maternity leave. That was like today, except it lasted several months. The school ran smoothly. Student and staff morale were high. In many ways, the work was easier than being in the classroom.
Why not become a principal, then? Two reasons: #1: There’s a difference between being a substitute and being the real thing. #2: Even though the classroom might not always feel natural to me, it’s what I do and what I’ve always done. It’s where I belong, even if it sometimes hurts.