When I first became a school administrator, my wife’s co-workers would ask, “So what exactly does a principal do all day long anyway?” To which she would often smile, shake her head, and reply, “It’s hard to explain.”
One day, a co-worker asked, “Describe a typical day for your husband at work.” So Michelle said, “Yesterday, was a typical day. Yesterday my husband came home wearing not a single piece of clothing he had even owned when he left the house that morning. New shirt, new pants, new underwear, new socks, and new shoes. That is typical.”
After getting the story about why I was without clothes I had owned just 16 hours earlier (It involves frozen heat exchangers, broken pipes, a furnace on overdrive, and rain and fog in the band room), the coworker wanted to know how that was typical. Michelle said, “Because every day is like that. No matter what he might plan to do, no matter what he needs to do. It seems like every day, the universe conspires against him to cause chaos around him.”
Now that I’ve worked in administration for almost 7 years, I realize a couple of things about that statement. 1) It doesn’t sound like I was a very good principal that first year. Being reactive to chaos is a sign of poor leadership. Proactively planning for minimizing chaos is good leadership. 2) The chaos still exists, but now that I have two assistant principals, most of the student-generated chaos is filtered out. 3) I haven’t had to buy new clothes while at work in over 6 years. 🙂
But the last few weeks, I’ve begun the budgeting and staffing process. And neither of those things are particular strengths of mine, so I have to work doubly hard to make sure that I get it right. Also, as many of you may have heard, Wisconsin education funding and the rules governing staffing have really been unpredictable these last few years. I never seem to be able to predict who will retire, who will leave for another district, or what the end revenue from the state will be. So, right now I’ve been spending the last two weeks trying to fit the constantly moving pieces of a $6.5 million budget with 120 employees together into a cohesive puzzle that every day is a different shape from what I thought it was when I started the day.
I can honestly tell you that it is the one time of the year, budget and staffing, that I worry the job of principal may get the best of me. So far, in 4 years, I’ve trimmed almost $900,000 off of that in staffing and materials, and have only had to issue two-part time lay-offs. We’ll see if I can continue to be so lucky.
(So I’ve been writing the above paragraphs, off and on, since Thursday morning at 7:15 am. And I just re-read them and even I can’t tell if I am bragging or whining. 🙂 Fairly pathetic blog-post so far, really. I believe the point that I was trying to make was that from the end of January until the first of April, I’ll be really surprised if I am able to blog as regularly as I like and that is why I missed blogging last week. Hope you can deal with that. I’m hopeful that Michelle will keep up her regular writing.)
Week #25 Numbers: I weighed in last week at 323.4, down 5.2 pounds from week #24. That put my BMI at 41.9 and my total loss to date at 57.6#.
Week #26 Numbers: I stepped on the scale on Thursday morning (Thursday’s now instead of Wednesday for a few weeks as I’ve joined a team of colleagues in a community wide healthy living challenge and they weigh in on Thursday) at 321#. Again, I found that number to be disappointing. (Crazy!!) Because I really wanted to see a 31x option. I just think that “three hundred ‘something’ teen” sounds immeasurable better than “three hundred twenty-one.” And I wanted the teens this week. I wanted ’em bad. Is that so wrong?
To focus on the positive, I weighed 381 pounds on August 17th. That means this week I crossed into the 60 pounds down category!!! Now that feels good to type. Also, my BMI is 41.6. Only 1.6 more to go on the BMI and only 13 more pounds to realize my 40 by 40 goal. And I have 26 weeks to accomplish that!?!?! That’s right! I am 82% of the way to my first yearly goal, and I’m only 50% of the way through the year!! I rock!!!!!! (Ok, that last part was definitely bragging. 🙂 )
Also, this week, we did a spontaneous fundraiser online to show support for a friend of mine who recently learned her cancer had returned. In 24 hours, we raised over $600 for our 3-Days for the Cure team, all going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Our team total is over $2,200, which is totally awesome, but we also need to get to over $10,000 to meet our goal. (I promised on Facebook I wouldn’t post a plea for donations for the rest of February if we got over the $2,000 mark this week, but if I put a link to the team here, for people who might have extra money lying around, that’s not cheating is it? No, I didn’t think so.)
If you care to look into our team, and maybe feel a longing to support breast cancer research or victim support financially, feel free to click on this link: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2013/ChicagoEvent2013?team_id=217416&pg=team&fr_id=1830
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the continued support. I literally cannot count the number of people who have given me positive support this week. Teachers texting me during staff meetings to say that I look good. Parents grabbing me at sporting events and in the grocery store. Board members emailing to tell me they have noticed the change and are happy for me. Students tweeting about their awesomely handsome new principal. (‘Kay, that last one hasn’t actually happened, but that might be a moment.:) )