An Impossible Job

The principal’s job is often called the loneliest in K-12 education. Why?  Where else do you find a position that is as harsh and unforgiving?  The hours are long, and the demands seem to come incessantly from every direction.  You name it- the teachers, the students, the parents, the administrative office, the community.  Who else have such multi-faceted responsibilities?

And the complexity doesn’t end there.  Buildings, budgets, and buses must all be managed with fine-tuned proficiency, tender-loving care and sometimes simultaneously.    Beyond the myriad of responsibilities, administrators must solve numerous paradoxes. They must balance the conflicting requests from parents and teachers. And this is why the position is impossible.

Many, due to their interpersonal gifts and creativity and supreme self-control can find that seemingly elusive compromise. Then, drawing upon their diplomatic talent and experience, they can sell it to both sides. Many times they can devise fruitful and practical solutions that allow the school to continue moving forward.

But even assuming that the administrator can successfully manage the day to day challenges, they are also saddled with the success of new initiatives that embody the hopes and dreams of transforming the school.  They are expected to be the chief architects and visionaries for the students, parents, and teachers, not to mention the community.

So what can be done to help these often silent, underappreciated heroes?  And keep in mind that as we assist them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, it is to everyone’s benefit, be it student, teacher, parent, or the entire community.

Making The Impossible Possible

Perhaps we need to look at successful businesses for the key.  Organization and fine-tuned systems allow businesses to grow and develop by freeing up top executives to be creative and resourceful with their time.  This is the answer.  Automating the seeming tasks of the administrator wherever possible, allowing them to focus on the “bigger things.”

So, what can be automated? Every school needs therapists for students requiring special services.  Until recently there was no choice but for the school administrator to take responsibility for assuring that every child has the appropriate therapist.  And when therapists would leave mid-year, it was the administrator charged with finding a replacement.

But teletherapy has changed all that. Now an administrator can confidently contract an online therapy agency knowing that the children in his/her charge will receive top quality therapy comparable to face to face. And this therapy is convenient, cost-effective, and have the peace of mind that if the therapist leaves in the middle of the year, a replacement will be provided immediately.

The Time Is Now

So while we can’t eliminate the many and varied and constant challenges of the school administrator, we can make it somewhat less impossible.  By just automating where possible, freeing up his/her time, energy and talent to be devoted to those critical issues we can spell the difference between a school year defined as success or failure. The year has only just begun. It’s not too late!