Opinion
Education Opinion

TOC

By Emmet Rosenfeld — July 12, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The new gig is already a lot different than the old. I’ve got an office, not a classroom. (More to come on feng shuing that, once I figure out how. So far all I’ve done is throw out an old spider plant.) I even broke down and got the crackberry. That acquisition was precipitated by an unfortunate incident involving the laundry, and and it didn’t hurt that my son loves brickbreaker. I may eventually get used to the buzzing in my pocket, but I promise I’ll never pull it out and thumb through emails while we’re talking.

But some things don’t change. A marble comp book is my constant companion. It’s full of notes at this point and keeps nagging at me to do some free-writing, but it’s grateful that I still date and label every entry (any former student who happens to be reading this just had an involuntary tic). Before too many pages accrue, and to give you a feel for my first week on the job, here’s an annotated table of contents (or “TOC” as I refer to it when checking student scribbling) for my first official notebook as Dean of Students.

6/25 Suzanne: Suzanne is the Director of Curriculum and does “study skills” with all grade levels. In our first meeting, she gives me a download on the scope and sequence and the 8th grade curriculum in particular, sketches out the rhythm of the year, and patiently answers my questions like, “How many classes are there a day and how long are they?” We kick around ideas about how to use the school TV studio, such as having 8th graders do segments on different cultures before International Night in the fall.

7/1 intro to CSOV: Click on the hammer to submit a maintenance request, code purple means shelter in place in the event of a chemical attack, make elections for mutual fund by such and such a date… this was a nitty gritty session with Tina from HR to get oriented.

Seth: There will be a lot of pages of notes with my new boss’s name on them. Seth is bursting with ideas; as Head of school, vision is his job. Implementing the ones whose time have come will be mine. Eventually we have to be able to finish each other’s sentences, Seth says, so here we talk about themes for the year: a personal touch, building trust, the parent-teacher partnership. We also go over the new leadership structure and a future plan to connect with a school in China.

L Team: Over Subway sandwiches, the Leadership team has its first get together. We talk in broad strokes about the need to celebrate the school’s achievements at the same time we move forward towards an upcoming 70th anniversary, zooming in on details about assemblies, accreditation, mission, financials… “Never worry alone” is the closing mantra.

7/9 Molly: the tech lady! She helps me with my mojo, like getting my printer to work, showing me how to retrieve email from home and where to save on the network. We talk tech turkey about how teachers use their smartboards and what can we do with the new Illuminate system.

7/10 Helen, Jennifer: Jennifer will be my girl Friday. The administrative assistant to the head, Helen, walks us through sharing calendars on Outlook and some of the finer points of a good working relationship: “All Seth had to learn to do was to relinquish control completely,” she explains with a friendly smile.

Pre-meeting: That’s right. A meeting to get ready for a meeting. In this case, several of us are going to an evening session with a group that includes parents and board members. The school is in the process of strategic planning, so Seth wants to make sure we’re singing from the same sheet music. One teacher I haven’t met yet conferences in. She’s at the meeting without even being at the meeting.

T & P Meeting: the Teaching and Program committee sits in the library and talks about what teachers need to implement the school’s accelerated curriculum, and what sort of enrichment appeals to parents. Marketing words like “needs assessment” and “value proposition” bump up against teacher jargon like “differentiation” and “professional learning communities.”

7/11 Richmond: Seth and I take a road trip. Our agenda is to see a model summer program at Collegiate, visit a former student of mine at governor’s school who nominated me as a favorite teacher, and drop in on Seth’s previous protégé at his current gig as head of a small school in Richmond. In the car we bat around a plan for next year to carve time out of the schedule during which students can be enriched and teachers PLC’ed, and Seth explains to me for the second time how his brother and sister are actually his aunt and uncle.

The opinions expressed in Eduholic are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP