During October's Principals Month festivities, we asked members on Facebook, "What's one thing you wished people knew about your current reality as a principal?" Below is one of the responses we received from Stephanie Teel, Principal at St. Helens Elementary in Longview. Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing!
Right now, my job feels a lot like the title of an old Western: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
The Good: My teachers are working hard to meet the needs of students, whether it’s remote or hybrid. I see students learning. I see teachers looking for ways to engage and build community. I see parents that are working hard to provide for their families while partnering with the schools for distance learning.
My district has moved to the first stage of hybrid and it did wonders for the morale of everyone! There’s something to be said about hearing the sounds of students in the building. Students are excited to see their teachers, friends, and do a great job of following all the new safety expectations!
My school has worked hard to make sure all of our families have the necessities: food, school supplies, clothes, clean water, etc. I love going on home visits with my family liaison. It keeps me connected with our school families and lets me know what the needs are.
The Bad: I don’t sleep at night. This job feels pretty lonely. I’m worried about my staff. I’m worried about my students. I’m worried about my own children and family. I worry about safety. I wonder if I’m enough. I worry that I don’t have all the answers. I worry that I can’t meet all the needs of my staff, students, and families. When I make some of those home visits, I go home and cry.
The Ugly: I don’t see a return to “normal” any time soon and that is draining. Some weeks, there aren’t enough resources for our families. Stress and worry brings out the worst in people; there’s not much I can do but listen when that happens. Some days, I’m not sure I can do this. Schools need more resources and more people willing to think outside the box to meet the needs of our students.
Above all else, I want people to know that, while I may not love the current circumstances, I love my job, I love my staff, and I love my students. I strive every day to support my teachers and students and encourage them along the way.