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On September 13th, I will officially participate in No Office Day!
David Truss first posted a blog here, describing in words and pictures his experience with a "No Office" Day and challenging the rest of us principals and heads to do the same. This challenge has been picked up by PEJE, whose guest blogger on August 19th, Rabbi Shira Leibowitz issued a similar challenge to Jewish day school principals and heads here - officially declaring that we should:
"Choose a day between September 12-15th to close your office and spend the entire day with students and teachers: supporting, observing teaching, and participating in learning activities."
PEJE was so invested in seeing us take this opportunity that they went ahead and incentivized our participation by holding a contest through their PEJE Facebook page...first five principals to commit gets a free Flip camera to document their "No Office" Day. Guess who was #2 and got himself a camera? I received it this week (thanks Ken Gordon @PEJEjds!) and officially blocked off the 13th of September as my official "No Office" Day!
How will I spend my day?
First off, I know how I won't spend my day...in MEETINGS! Woo-hoo! My calendar has been cleared and blocked off - no parents, no vendors, no donors, no board members, no staff...a complete day dedicated to being with teachers and students in their "natural setting" (i.e. NOT my office). This, alone, should make it amongst the best days ever.
This is a great year for me to have this day because I have already made a commitment to do more teaching. I presently teach two classes in the Day School. I teach tefillah (prayer) to Grade One three afternoons a week and I am teaching a nine-week seminar on the same topic three mornings a week in Grade Eight. I am finished with my first week of teaching and I am thrilled to have made the decision. And the fact that my daughter, Eliana, is in Grade One allows me the pleasure of teaching my own daughter and the privilege of using gratuitous photos of her on my professional blog...like this one:
Not having come from the ranks of teaching (the full-time, all day variety - I do have a fair amount of teaching experience) into the headship, it is crucial to my ability to serve as the "Instructional Leader" for my faculty (one of the many hats a head wears) that I establish and maintain credibility as an actual teacher. Even if I had been a full-time teacher, it would likely remain just as important to keep those skills fresh. It is common to lots of professions that have administration as a rung on the career ladder - the better you are at doing the work, the farther away from it you get "promoted". I love working with kids...I'm pretty good at it...and I rarely have the opportunity to do it anymore!
So thank you "No Office" Day. Thank you for giving me the extra push to do what I should have had the time management skills to do on my own. Thank you for the invitation to remind myself of what it is truly all about - teachers and students; learning and growing; hearts and minds.
If you want to find me on September 13th, don't bother trying to find me in my office. The door will be shut and the lights will be out. If you want to find this principal on his "No Office" Day, head for where the real action is - the classrooms.
Looking forward to posting my experiences in a few weeks!