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Principal's View: Identifying What's Necessary

Principal's View: Identifying What's Necessary

March and April were very busy months and it doesn’t look like May will slow down at all. There are deadlines to meet and, it seems, more and more evaluations and reports to do all the time. In this time of accountability, the growth of accountability reports has become a norm for educational administrators. Along with it, is the requirements to show, using the data collected, that goals are being met and new ones identified. Don’t get me wrong, I think being accountable is good. As professionals, it is necessary to demonstrate what has been accomplished. In fact, I believe that it is a necessary thing to do. Just as we expect students to demonstrate what they have learned, we need to be able to show what the students know and are capable of doing. It’s necessary.

What’s needed and what’s necessary

As my wife and I expect the arrival of our 8th child, at any time now, I think about how people don’t seem to be able to comprehend how we are able to provide time for each of our children or give them enough attention. What I find is that, with the addition of each child, we, as parents, have had to make decisions about our time and how we do things and then, if necessary, eliminate something. For me, I don’t watch any tv. I watch a movie once in awhile but I don’t spend any time in front of the tv watching sports or any of the shows. At this time of year, during the NHL playoffs, it can be a bit tough since hockey is one of my favourite sports but I’ve learned that radio or internet broadcasts are just as good. In fact, I’m amazed at all the things I can do during the time I listen to a game. I’ve developed a real love of listening to sports, whether it be baseball, football, hockey or even soccer. During this time, I can do things with my children, like build a play center, play board games, read books or a multitude of other things. I’ve had to make accommodations because what I was doing would not work – there wasn’t time to do both things. So, how do we find time to be with all our children? Well, we make choices about what we need to do and then, when necessary, change what we are doing since there isn’t time to do all the things.

No Learning Transfer

As educators, we strive to have what our students learn transfer to new situations. We want them to take their learning and be able to use it to solve new problems, to look at situations and see what it is they can apply from the knowledge they have gained. This isn’t happening at present when it comes to the model we are using with educators. When a new requirement for teachers or administrators is added, there isn’t a pause to adjust what is being done in order to allot time for the new requirement or adjustments made to what is presently being done in order to allow for integration. Instead, the present system is cumbersome with teachers and administrators trying to find time to do more without being allowed a chance to adjust, accommodate and make changes that will allow for the new demands.

With each additional child, my wife and I have had to make adjustments and make decisions about what are “not negotiable, what can be altered and what needs to be cut loose”. Such a scenario is: not negotiable – time for me to exercise and be active, what can be altered – the time I take for such activities and the times which they occur, what needs to be cut loose – activities that take a great deal of time – golf and hockey. There just isn’t the time in my schedule for such activities with children. My solution is that I have to redesign what I do, re-evaluate my exercise needs and make the appropriate adjustments. Now, do I wish I could golf and play hockey? You bet. In fact, I usually get a few rounds of golf in during the summer and play a few games of hockey but I cannot play either regularly. Instead, I look for other opportunities – like I coach most of the year. It allows me to be active, to some degree and be involved in sports. I also am able to sometimes coach teams on which my own children play. Double bonus! I have numerous examples of how our lives require adaptation and change in order to meet the present needs. I cannot add any more hours to the day.

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