Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Day As The Principal

So I arrived at school today at the usual 7.35am and was greeted by our office XO saying, "Can I have a pay rise?" I giggled of course - she is rather a terrible tease, so I figured this was her usual joke. But then she said, "You are the boss today so can I get a pay rise?"

Upon checking my emails, the truth was revealed. Every one of the senior management team were out for the day...the buck was about to stop with me.


First thoughts? Panic. Then I realised that was only a short list of disasters that could possibly occur in a 7 hour window so I began to list them. Fire. Flood. Earthquake (it is New Zealand after all). Volcanic eruption (it is AUCKLAND after all!) and then I decided to get real - what could REALLY possibly go wrong?

Well, one of the high needs children could have a meltdown and need to be removed for some time out. Ok, I could deal with that. I know most of them pretty well and was fairly sure that they would come with me for a bit of a walk and chat if they were upset. One of the staff might get suddenly ill and need to go home, leaving us with a class to be split or a reliever to be called. One quick look at the list of relievers in the school already assured me that choice A was the only option here! We could have an accident in the playground but that could be managed as we have plenty of great first aiders in the school and a direct line to the ambulance service!

So then the next email arrived. Our caretaker was away. Oh dear, this meant that any 'accidents' of the cleaning-up variety could be a challenge for the office staff! It also meant that the toilets wouldn't be opened yet and there could be alarms going off left, right and centre...

Crisis averted after a wee walk-about, and then it was off to chat to the awesome office staff who really were holding down the fort for the day. They managed parents, juggled a few messy incidents with toileting accidents, a cut foot (needed a tetanus), a broken trellis (caused the cut foot), a few children who hadn't brought  their money to school for popcorn (enviro movie day at lunchtime) and the rest was just routine. I must admit to feeling like the biggest fraud rather than the big boss all day! Quite honestly, I admit to being shocked at the amount of small yet important bits and bobs that a principal deals with all day - phew!

So, the good news is that my 7 hour stretch did NOT end in a volcanic eruption or an earthquake, no roof fell in, no toilets flooded, there were no fire alarms, no teachers rushed home ill and no children needed to stroll around the school with me to calm them. All in all, I escaped extremely lightly and am very glad that tomorrow the REAL leaders of our school will all be back and I will be simply a happy classroom teacher once again.

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