Yesterday was a difficult day for everyone at our school. Our principal who has been so amazing, had her last day with us before she retires. On Monday we had a grade level assembly that my class organized and a few classes shared poems or stories celebrating how much she has done for us and how much we are going to miss her.
This is only my third year of teaching and starting tomorrow (because today is another storm day) I will start working with my fourth principal. I’ve been incredibly lucky thus far. I started off my teaching career, or at least my full time teaching career, with a principal who was very supportive. I only worked with her for just over six months before she retired and I moved on to another school. My second principal was also wonderful for me in a different way. He made a point of pointing out the good things that teachers were doing and thanking us for our hard work. I felt very respected and valued working with him.
When I heard he was moving on to a new school and we were getting a new principal, a woman I had never met but who I knew was close to retirement, I must admit, I was nervous. I knew that this year was going to be a challenge for me, after all, I had taught most of my students the year before so I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for. I knew I was going to need some extra support. I was afraid that our new principal would be hands off, just filling a position until she retired. Or worse, what if she was a dictator, someone who would criticize me for any mistake, who would blame me for the problems in my classroom.
Both of those fears were so far from the truth. Right from day one with the students, my principal has been my biggest supporter. She has seen me through my worst days and was even a shoulder to cry on when I felt very frustrated. She pushed to give me every support she could, have my SMART Board moved, had so much 1 on 1 time with some of my students who needed that extra support so desperately, and made it possible that I could have Mrs. W in the class with me.
Now we have a new principal coming in. I’ve met her before. She’s going to be the new principal at our new school when it opens up next winter so it makes sense that she would be our principal for the remainder of this year. She has other obligations with the new school and at the district office so she will be our part time principal and our VP will be VP full time. We’re also getting .4 more M&R support from a new staff member who will start tomorrow and we have a new phys.ed. teacher to free up our VP. In other words, they’re giving us three new staff people to replace the one we’ve lost.
I’m sure we’ll be fine. The new principal has a lot of experience. She’s been doing literacy up at district for a while so I’m anxious to pick her brain about CAFE and Daily 5 and Lucy Calkins and how to fit all of this into my literacy block. (I’m still in my pj’s today but I’ve spent all day delving into my literacy books trying to plan out my literacy block but that’s another blog post entirely.) I’m mostly worried about my students. After all, us adults are pretty resilient to change, but they don’t deal with change that well. There were more than a few tears yesterday. Even one of my biggest, toughest boys was in tears because she was leaving, asking why she had to retire and didn’t she want to work? It’s so hard to explain these things to them. And the timing wasn’t very good. We also started our French writing assessments yesterday and we’re about to go through the major change of switching from French to English so my students are dealing with a lot of change just now. Having a storm day today did not help things, though it was a pretty bad snow storm all day so they were right in closing school, but it will mean more disruption, more hurrying to finish the assessments.
Luckily, this day also means more time for me to prepare for the change over, to do some stress relieving exercises and get some extra sleep.