When I was a little girl, I believed that my school principal lived in her office. On the rare occasion that I saw her out in the community, I remember being shocked…and maybe a little disappointed.
Students and teachers feel a sense of security knowing that their school principal is at the helm. Even during school holidays, they expect that the principal will be available for any unforeseen emergencies (a rogue school bus, perhaps? Or a life-threateningly broken locker combination?).
As principal of a residential school, I will use our two week winter break to get caught up on a few projects. Because I live on the campus where I am employed, most of our families will likely know that I am working.
And what they don’t know, won’t hurt them…
I will rollover the office phone to my cell to receive calls, but will only return calls from the school office. Doing so will allow me to conduct business from my home office without giving out that holy grail of telephone numbers, the principal’s home telephone.
And I will only go to the office in the afternoons, which brings me to….
Though I regularly hand out tardy slips to students, if left to my own devices, I would be late everywhere I go – starting with getting out of bed. No setting the alarm to get up during winter break allowed…I have a note from the principal.
When I do go to the office, I will work against a backdrop of music. Loud music. We’re talking Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder at top volume played over the school intercom. Even in the library…ahem, media center.
I won’t spend the entire winter break working. Oh sure, I will get caught up on some writing projects and put a dent in the stack of professional journals piling up beside my bed
But lunchtime will find me sitting in a nice restaurant with a friend, leisurely enjoying lunch-without-lunch-duty, eating from a breakable dish instead of a plastic cafeteria tray and lingering over dessert-without-a-dismissal-bell. Heaven!
And when my work is caught up and I’ve spent some time relaxing, the inevitable will happen.
Around day ten, I will start checking the calendar to see how much longer I have to wait to go back to school.
Because principals are just big school kids who never got past the thrill of the first day of school. Most of us still can’t believe that we actually found jobs that pay us to experience that thrill every single day.
And because school buildings were meant to be filled with children’s voices. Every day.
And though we may complain (a little) about having to work over the winter break, we principals will be there (anxiously) waiting for our students to return…which happens to be my favorite thing about winter break.