Through the lens of a teacher:
Like many of the members of my UVEI cohort I started the program in August as a teacher, who would continue to teach full time while completing the UVEI Principal Intern Program. Initially, all of my conversations, papers and projects were influenced by my fifteen years of teaching experience. It was hard to examine the topics we were studying through any lens except that of a veteran teacher. While, my experience as a teacher is extremely beneficial and necessary to understanding the role of an administrator; at times I felt it was getting in the way of truly understanding how an administrator must view their role as an educational leader.
It must have been this winter:
Sometime in early winter, after several hundred hours of readings, discussions, Cross District Case Study papers, UVEI seminars, and boots on the ground experiences as a building principal, I began to view the workings of my placement school and the way I interacted with my colleagues differently. I found myself thinking, “I wonder if we were to implement this or discuss that, how it would affect teacher instruction and student learning?” or “if I was principal I would do it this way…..” That was when I started to make a shift from teacher to instructional leader.
It’s not an easy position to be in:
Having a foot in both worlds is not easy. At times it has put me at odds with colleagues I have worked alongside for twelve years. Having the insight and experiences I have gained through UVEI has lead me to question our protocols and instructional practices. I can see the discomfort my colleagues now have around me, which helps me to understand the isolation building administrators must feel at times. The new knowledge I have gained has led me to find a balance between my role as a classroom teacher and principal intern.
Finding the balance:
As I come to the end of my time in the UVEI Principal Internship Program, I have come to realize that seeing things from multiple points of view can be a blessing and a curse. But no matter which lens I use to evaluate the educational situations I’m faced with — teacher or administrator — I must remember to use the information I’ve gained through both lenses to make decisions on what’s best for the students in my care.