I’m glad you asked. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently too.
I should be on my mid-year vacation right now.
At my school, we are on track system. That is, because of the shortage of space in our building, we have tracks of teams that share the site.
A team consists of about 200 students and about 8 teachers.
At any given time, three of the four tracks are in session, and one is off-track or on vacation. I should be on vacation right now, but I’m not.
I’m working. Not as a teacher, but as an administrator.
A school in our district was short an administrator due to illness, and they asked me to fill in since I was off-track.
I hesitated at first from accepting the temporary position, but after my wife expressed to me the great experience I would gain and the extra Christmas money she needed, I agreed.
I’ve subbed as an administrator in the past, and I figure that I would eventually retire as an administrator, but I always saw that day way far off in the future.
Then I consider my age, and I wonder if it’s time to start thinking about making the jump to the big chair.
I know teachers who would leave the classroom in a heartbeat if offered an administrative position. I have a hard time with this. To me, making the move is one that I have to think long and hard about. Do I really want to be an administrator?
I have always enjoyed the time I’ve spent at the administrative end of the educational spectrum. I get to meet with student who are struggling either with academic or behavioral issues, and I get to spend more time discussing ways to make a change. This is the best part of the job. I enjoy the idea of creating changes in the school environment or policies to improve how a school functions. I like the idea of not having to grade or take work home. The money is a little better also, and that is nice.
I think I would make a pretty good administrator. I guess I’ll find out someday.
There are drawbacks, however, that cause me to think about waiting to make the move.
I’m not too crazy about the idea of having to call parents and tell them that their child is in trouble again. Some parents enjoy yelling at administrators, and I don’t like getting yelled at. I don’t like having to evaluate other teachers, especially if they aren’t doing a good job. I hate meetings, and administrators have a lot of meetings. Administrators get to school earlier and leave later. Administrators have to analyze a lot of data to evaluate how better to improve test scores, because that is how they are evalutated, whether it’s written down somewhere or not.
Then I think of why I love teaching. I enjoy being able to connect with kids. I like seeing the light bulb turn on in their brain. I relish the moans and groans I get when I take the class to the edge of a cliff with a story, then tell them that they have to come back tomorrow to find out what happens. I enjoy figuring out new ways to teach an old concept. I like making them laugh with a lesson. I am so happy when a low performing student gets a good grade on a test.
Yes, I have to do a lot of grading.
Yes, I have to take work home with me.
Yes, I don’t get paid nearly enough for what I’m worth, but…
I love teaching. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.
I’m sure there are other benefits to being an administrator, but maybe I’ll wait a little more before filling out that application.
If there are any administrators reading this, I’m interested to know if you have additional insights into the position. Teachers, what do you think I should do?