The important work happens in the classroom. For all the energy we educators put into building our personal learning networks, communicating with families, going to EdCamps, reading articles and books, collaborating at lunch, and the thousand other things teachers and administrators do to support teaching and learning, the place where the magic appears is in the interaction between teachers and students.
I’m blessed to see it every day. As a middle school principal I can honestly say that every single day I’ve come to work at Diegueño I’ve been in classrooms. There is no part of my job more important, or more enjoyed, than being out of my office and in the presence of students learning.
As a dad myself, I know how precious this is. To see what’s happening in classrooms is something I never take for granted. Middle school students don’t always come home, plunk down their backpacks, and tell mom and dad how their day went. They don’t always mention the little things, like what happened when they debated the merits of technology in English class, or dissected plants in science, or designed a video game in coding class. Not always.
As I walk from class to class, I purposefully take my time. I want to see what happens after the discussion of the Puritans, what happens after the students have finished looking at cells through a microscope, what they do when they’re done writing in their journals.
I love sneaking a word with kids as they transition from one activity to the next, asking about what they’re learning (while it’s fresh in their heads and they aren’t tired at the end of a full day). The dad in me loves hearing how excited they are; the principal in me can’t help but be proud of the work our students and teachers are doing together.
And as a principal, I love sharing the stories with parents and the world as much as I can. It’s why I use Twitter and one of the reasons I keep a blog. With every photo of a science lab, ASB lunch activity, or student art show I get to tell a part of Diegueño’s story.
Moms and dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can’t always be on campus to catch the swinging of rocket prototypes outside the CE Smart lab, or the student submerging in the water displacement drum in science class, but I am, and I can share a peek into the world on campus.
It’s as I go from classroom to classroom that I completely understand just how inspirational education really is. Sure we face challenges; schools are microcosms of the community, and communities are not without challenges, but as we work with students and families to help navigate the teenage years, the real story of our school unfolds in classrooms all around us.
That’s the good stuff.