Teaching Opinion

Stepping Through the Looking Glass

By Starr Sackstein — August 26, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

“I’ll never be an administrator!”

I used to exclaim such things from my classroom, certain that it was so. After all, why would I ever leave my classroom and most of all, my students?

If you would have asked me years ago or even straight up through this past spring (as many folks have), “Would you ever consider it?”

Without hesitation, my answer was always, “No! Teaching is my passion. I crave it. I can’t see myself doing anything else. Plus, I don’t want to deal with the politics that comes with administration.”

Which makes my current situation particularly ironic and somewhat weird.

Very soon, I officially become an administrator and surprisingly, I no longer see the title as a noose, but an opportunity. Rather than having the chance to work with only my 130-150 students per year, now I will have the chance to work with many teachers who impact that many students directly.

Since I began my leadership program, many of the misconceptions I suffered about administration have begun to change. I’m not certain if these long-thought beliefs had something to do with my experiences as a teacher and the leadership I worked with or if I’d become so entrenched in my role as a teacher that I didn’t want to see the other possibilities.

Either way, I see now I have a choice about the kind of leader I want to be.

Social media is an amazing tool and through it over the last seven or eight years, I’ve been transformational leaders, whom I know now are actually mentors. Having watched my colleagues and friends rise through the ranks and reshape what their roles were, I know that I have the ability to do that too.

And why shouldn’t I? I’ve done it in the classroom for a long time now.

Most folks who have worked with me would attest to my commitment to the students and to trying new things; taking calculated risks to put kids in charge of their learning. They’d probably say that I worked tirelessly to support and push my kids to places they didn’t even know they wanted to go. In fact, some have told me that when I wasn’t certain I was doing it well.

Although those moments of doubt arose, I pushed through and I will do the same now.

What would I tell a student who I know could do it, but just needed someone else to believe in them?

What would I tell a colleague who wanted to try something new but was afraid?

“You can do it! And I’ll be here to support you in any way you need me to. Trust yourself. You got this!”

And so I’m giving myself that same nurturing.

Students need to be empowered to grow as learners and so do teachers. We crave autonomy, but also feedback. We want to know that our kids are getting what they need and if they aren’t someone will be compassionate enough to give us some help to benefit the kids.

Eager to meet my new colleagues and learn about the school culture, I’m diving head first into my new position. Instead of fearing what is beyond the title, I’m embracing it.

Why shouldn’t I be able to transform even my own idea of what leadership looks like and bring possibilities into the light?

What do you wish for in your administrators, particularly those who are new to the community as well? I welcome your ideas. Please share.

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress 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.