Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Typical Day

Regularly, I am asked, "What did you do at work, today?" Embarrassingly, I'm not always able to answer that question. And it isn't because the nature of my work is top-secret. Instead, there are more days than not that are so full that they are over before I've ever had a chance to come-up for air. Education is busy work.

That's is why I'm glad that Adam Welcome (@awelcome) posed the challenge - pick a day and blog, via a list, about everything that we (principals) do during a given day - to our #PrincipalsInAction Voxer group (check out Adam's blog on the topic, which will be released via Ed Week). This would be a good opportunity for me to try to slow down, reflect on what it is that I am doing, and think about how I spend my time in-order to best meet the needs of our staff, students, and other school community.

So, as a principal of a K-2 elementary school, what do I do all day? I should warn you, there is a lot here; this is a long post, much longer than I had initially imagined.

Anyways, here is a little bit of an insight as to what I do on a typical day (this typical day just happened to be on Monday, September 28th, 2015).

  • I arrived at school just before 8am, in-time for the mini-PD sessions that some of our Grant Wood Area Educational Agency consultants were leading for our teachers in the areas of Google Docs/Drive and Twitter. I participated in the Twitter session.
  • At the conclusion of our Twitter PD, I went outside to greet our students on the playground/on their way into the school. 
  • I then led the morning announcements over the intercom with the help of some of our second grade students.
  • After the announcements, our superintendent arrived; I joined him in my office as we visited with one of our tech consults who was sticking around for the day, making herself available to our teachers via a format similar to a college professor's office hours. She was explaining to us the items that she'd brought to demo - Bee Bot and Blue Bot, Dash and Dot, and a Sphero Ball (all programming robots), a Little Bits circuit set, a mini drone, and an Osmo. 
  • We took the drone out to the hallway where a kindergarten class was walking by on their way to the library. One student was struggling to follow along with his peers; fortunately flying the drone down the hallway serves as a pretty good motivator to get him to the library. 
  • Back in my office, our superintendent, our tech consultant, and myself had a conversation about technology in education.
  • Quickly I checked my voicemail, and returned a phone call.
  • I headed out of my office and into a classroom to grab a student who I've been trying really hard to connect with; I brought this student to my office to let him demo one of our programming robots.
  • I was called down to a classroom to assist with a student. That student and I had a conversation, and he went back to his class.
  • I had a conversation with our school counselor in regards to a student that we've both been spending quite a bit of time working with.
  • Stopped-in, quickly, to two of our second grade classrooms while I was down in that end of the hallway.
  • On my way back down the hallway, I checked-in with a student who had been sent-out of the classroom. We had a conversation, and with my support he re-entered the classroom.
  • I returned to my office, to have a brief conversation with our tech consultant about some follow-up to the Twitter PD that we'd done this morning/
  • A student was brought to my office as a result of him failing to stay on task and complete his work. Together, we went back to his classroom, and with my assistance, he completed his work requirements. 
  • A student had earned a break so he came to my office where he was able to experiment with Little Bits circuit set.
  • Again, I walked down the hallway seeking-out one of our special education teachers to discuss some recess options for one of her students.
  • Back in the office, I checked-in with our nurse, upon hearing of a multitude of students not feeling well throughout the building.
  • Back out in the hallway, I stopped into a classroom where students were reading to self. I sat with two students for a moment listening to them read and reading with them.
  • I went to find two students to check-in with. One of the two students was reading to self; I praised this student for doing such a good job of being on task. The other student needed some help getting started with a spelling/word work activity so I sat down and helped her get started.
  • Quickly, I glanced at my email noticing that there was an email needing a reply regarding confirmation of a meeting scheduled for later in the day. So I responded to that particular email, and I left the rest for later.
  • Again, I touched-base with our school counselor regarding the same student that we'd discussed earlier in the morning.
  • I was called to a classroom to assist with a student. I spent some time with this particular student waiting for him to calm-down to the point that he could have a conversation with me. Once he was ready, we role played a better way to respond when told that we have to wait to use the restroom.
  • Our tech consultant and I took our drone outside to the playground, but...the battery wasn't cooperating. It didn't fly.
  • I came back inside and checked in with a class/student.
  • Upon exiting that last classroom, I happened upon a student who wasn't willingly transitioning back to his classroom. I had a conversation with the student, and we went back into his classroom.
  • Again, I quickly checked my email to see if any emails needed an immediate response.
  • I found a student in the hallway who was working on finishing the writing prompt, "This weekend, I..." I sat with the student and helped him finish his writing. While working with this student, I showed him a picture of the work that my son had done at his school. The student remarked, "Where you proud of him?" I replied by saying, "I was! Just like I'm proud of you for finishing your work!" I thought that this was a really neat moment. I then helped transition this same student back into the classroom where I sat with him for five minutes.
  • I went back to my office where I attempted to make a positive phone call home in regards to one of our students. No answer. I shared the minor celebration via voice mail.
  • Back in the hallway, I walked a student down to the gym so that he could join the rest of his class for P.E.
  • Back in my office, while attempting to eat lunch, I had to prepare a CPI form to be sent home and to our administrative office.
  • I checked-in with our secretary to find-out what my crossing guard duties would be while I filled-in for one of our associates who was out for the day.
  • A second grade student, probably the biggest Green Bay Packers fan in our school, brought me a picture that he had drawn for me of the Chicago Bears (he knows that I am a big Chicago Bears fan).
  • I replied to a teacher's email where she was inviting me into her classroom to watch her students graph their progress; unfortunately, I had to decline the invitation (this time).
  • I left the office to do a couple of classroom walkthroughs.
  • I was told about a student struggling to come inside from recess so I headed to the playground and worked on getting him back inside and into his classroom.
  • Our tech consultant found me to tell me that the drone was charged so I got to fly it for a few minutes in the hallway.
  • Shortly before 2pm, I had to cross town to go to our district's other K-2 building to have a meeting regarding our School In Need of Assistance plan
  • At 3pm, I returned to school in-order to perform my crossing guard duties at dismissal.
  • After my crossing guard duty ended, we had a building leadership team meeting scheduled from 3:45 to 4:45.
  • My day wasn't done yet. For the next two hours I caught-up on email, had a cup of coffee, made copies, signed forms and requests, and sorted some papers.
  • At 7pm, I was present for our school board meeting.
  • After the board meeting, while driving home I was able to return a couple of phone calls and get caught up on some of my Voxer groups. 
  • A little before 8:30pm, I arrived home...just in time to read my son a book as he was getting ready for bed.


  1. That was quite a day Eric! I will bet the next day was equally jam packed, full of leading (meeting with the superintendent, talking technology, helping a school in need), managing (getting kids back into classrooms, checking voicemails and emails, crossing guard duties), and loving (helping all of those beautiful kids, finding ANY WAY to connect to them). I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jesse - thank you so much for taking the time to reply with comments. I can't express to you how much I appreciate it. Thank you

  2. That was quite a day Eric! I will bet the next day was equally jam packed, full of leading (meeting with the superintendent, talking technology, helping a school in need), managing (getting kids back into classrooms, checking voicemails and emails, crossing guard duties), and loving (helping all of those beautiful kids, finding ANY WAY to connect to them). I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

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