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Goodbye Hello


Sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote. Along with most of you at this time of year, I’ve been deep in the Stuff. Grading mountains of papers, saying good-byes, grading mountains of papers, distributing yearbooks, calculating final grades, moving stuff out of the room, telling kids to put away their yearbooks, haggling with kids about their final grades, signing yearbooks, exporting grades, going to end of the year luncheons, wondering if I should have changed so-and-so’s grade, hauling boxes of books around… you know. Stuff.

On top of the usual maelstrom, I’m getting ready to transition into my new job as an administrator/teacher. As the wave of leaving crashes around me and washes back down the beach, another wave is coming up right behind it. For example, on our second-to-last contract day, my division is going to a bar for an end o’ the year get-together. I’ll cut out early to make it to a dinner with the new school’s leadership team. From hoisting a beer with the TJ teachers I’ve sat with at lunch every day for three years, I’ll go to hoisting a beer with the folks at Congressional that I’ll be working with every day for what I hope is years to come.

I haven’t had a chance to process this upcoming change so much as run after it. Easing into the role this summer will provide time for further reflection, but I figured I’d take a moment now, before crossing over to the dark side, to reflect on the upcoming shift.

First, I guess I have to stop calling it “the dark side,” or making comments like, “Administrators are people too” (although that one got a good laugh at the faculty luncheon). The jokes reveal an us/them bias that I think is commonly held by classroom teachers, at least in the public sector.

We do the important work of the school, teachers tend to believe, while administrators push papers, waste time with unnecessary meetings, and are driven not by seeing the spark of learning in a child’s eyes but by the latest report on test scores or whatever policy du jour has been handed down from above.

Administrators, I imagine, have their own secret opinions about teachers: they can’t see the big picture, there’s always a whiner in the group, if they only knew what I have to go through with parents to make their lives easier… each side nursing its unspoken laundry list of grievances, while somehow the schools themselves—bustling, dysfunctional families-- keep running, day after day.

At my new gig, I’ll have the unique chance to wear both hats. As an 8th grade English teacher, I’ll still be with kids in the classroom every day, continuing to think about and refine my practice just as I do now—also, I promise, writing about it here, just as long as Teacher will have me.

And, as a real live walkie-talkie wielding administrator, I’ll have unlimited access to colleagues’ classrooms and also to top secret leadership meetings, a perspective that will no doubt broaden this blog’s scope in a way that I hope will interest teachers who wonder, while waving at one while running to the john at 10:23, what that administrator actually does when not standing in the hallway looking officious for a few minutes during passing time.

All this and more to come, but for now as the school year winds down for most of us, I just want to thank you for visiting, and wish Eduholics everywhere a restful summer. Try to balance professional development with pool time (and when that fails, may the pd be good). For my part, I’ll be busy meeting folks and learning the ropes at my new school. Among other projects, I'll be visiting local academic summer programs with the goal of starting one at Congressional a year from now, and looking into developing a student teacher program with a local university. Lucky there’s a pool on campus…


Hi Emmet,

As one of the original Emmet's Eleven, I'd like to congratulate you on your new position! I think your style of leadership and teaching of students and teachers alike will be a tremendous asset for Congressional Schools. They were smart to hire you.

Thanks for your great blog and an amazing class last summer. I've learned a LOT.


Hi Mr. R,
I think your new job sounds really exciting, you'll get to meet a lot of new people =]
You definitely left an imprint at TJ, and I'm sure you'll make an even bigger one at Congressional in the years to come.
Good luck,

I must tell you that I have been in public school administration for over 6 years. I went back into the classroom this past year due to administration being so thankless. Also, I realized that even though I am a good administrator I desire that everyone be happy. We all know that this is impossible. To lower my stress I decided to go back into the classroom. After about 3 weeks I was approached to be the part-time assistant principal. I accepted as long as I was not removed from the classroom completely. It was the best set up one could have. I knew the students in another light due to having them every day in the classroom. I believe that the classroom rapport I made with them was so helpful to my position as administrator. Also, I found it nice to be able to share with my teaching team various ways to look at administration and the students as I too had them in class. Sometimes being in the middle can be difficult but my rule of thumb is always........if I do not have to respond right away....don't and think about it......get back with them.....Not that I cannot make decisions because I can........I just wanted to be careful to NEVER appear disloyal to either side if you will.......My hopes were to be the bridge between the two.....not an easy task due to the history of it always being them and us........but I hope that I gave it my best try. My position was eliminated due to the school needing a full time assistant. I am saddened but I still know that my rapport with the students in the classroom and serving them is what is most important to me!

It was indeed a wonderful experience. I think your method of guidance and education of students and teachers alike will be a marvelous advantage for some schools. They were appoint you.
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Recent Comments

  • victor: It was indeed a wonderful experience. I think your method read more
  • Cheryl Sexstella-Wright: I must tell you that I have been in public read more
  • Jane Hu: Hi Mr. R, I think your new job sounds really read more
  • Josie: Hi Emmet, As one of the original Emmet's Eleven, I'd read more




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